Chief Executive meets Human Rights Monitor

Wednesday, November 12, 1997

The Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, met the chairman and members of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor today (Wednesday) and heard their views on various human rights issues.

The group raised the subjects of the rule of law, racial discrimination as well as recent incidents involving certain Police Officers and the handling of demonstrations by the Police.

Mr Tung reiterated that overall the Police Force were dedicated to their work and their professionalism had made Hong Kong one of the safest cities in the world. He had the fullest confidence in the Police, he said.

On isolated incidents involving members of the Police Force, Mr Tung pointed out that these cases were being fully and impartially investigated and those who had committed crimes would be brought to justice.

The Chief Executive noted that peaceful demonstrations remained very much a way of life after July 1. Police have statutory duties to preserve public safety and order and in handling demonstrations, the principle is to exercise maximum restraint and use minimum force only when absolutely necessary for the maintenance of law and order.

On the rule of law, Mr Tung stressed that Hong Kong had no higher priority than the preservation of the rule of law, which had been central to the territory's economic and social success.

The rule of law was the best safeguard against arbitrary and overbearing government while at the same time, the continuance of the legal system was guaranteed by the Basic Law, the Chief Executive said. Hong Kong enjoyed good human rights records which rivaled any one in the world, he added.

On equal opportunities for people of different races, Mr Tung noted that Article 22 of the Bill of Rights Ordinance prohibited the public authorities from engaging in any practice that discriminated on the basis of race.

He was very proud of Hong Kong's achievements in providing equal opportunities for people of different races. Mr Tung said that the Government was fully committed towards making further improvements in this regard.

He believed education was the most efficient means to promote equal opportunities for people of different races and noted that the Government would implement administrative measures through publicity, community projects, as well as publishing a code of practice for employers.