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回答聯合國經社文委員會成員 民間代表團反映香港住屋問題(新聞稿5.7)

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回答聯合國經社文委員會成員 民間代表團反映香港住屋問題(新聞稿5.7)

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香港民間代表團聯合新聞稿(2014.5.7)
回答聯合國經社文委員會成員
民間代表團反映香港住屋問題

聯合國經濟、社會與文化權利委員會於2014.5.8.在瑞士日內瓦召開聆訊,就中國(包括香港)根據《經濟、社會和文化權利國際公約》提交的第二份報告,向中國政府提出質詢。香港民間代表團於2014.5.7先行會晤委員會成員,提出多項不符合國際公約的事項,要求委員會在聆訊時提出。

香港大律師公會鄧鈞堤代表民間代表團宣讀意見書,指出國際新聞報告描述香港已成為居全球「裙帶資本主義」榜首,堅尼系數已達引致社會不安的程度,住屋和私營醫療開支超越市民承擔水平。而香港缺乏民主政治、政府不尊重國際公約、公約沒被納入本地法律等因素,令市民無法有效享有公約所保障的經濟、社會和文化權利。

代表團羅列13項重要關注事務,包括打壓傳媒發展和新聞自由、貧窮問題、住屋問題、發展私營醫療令公營醫療質素下降、沒有法例禁止性傾向和年齡歧視,婦女勞工、中港家庭、外傭,以及少數族裔的苦況。勞工保障方面,沒有法例保障工時、全民退休保障以及集體談判權,兼職僱員沒有勞工保障。代表團要求成立人權委員會,以及將公約納入本地法例。

經濟、社會與文化權利委員會多名成員出席會議,包括副主席荷蘭的Nicholaas Schrijver、副主席印度的Chandrashekhar DASGUPTA、報告員葡萄牙Maria-Virginia BRAS GOMES、韓國Heisoo SHIN、毛里求斯的 Ariranga Govindasamy PILLAY等。

委員關注香港的住屋短缺和迫遷的問題,多名代表向委員反映現況。
* 民主黨劉慧卿促請委員留意,香港是世界上最富有城市之一,財政儲備超過7000億元,但政府仍不肯和不能解決嚴重的房屋短缺和其他民生問題。
* 平等機會委員會委員謝永齡以實際例子反映,不單低下階層住屋困難,高收入專業人士亦已沒有能力置業。
* 香港人權監察主席陳懷嬋指,香港住屋短缺不只因為人多地少,更因地產物業已成為重要的投資工具,外地或內地人以個人或公司持有物業,不少用作炒賣的物業被空置,地產商屯積農地,而普羅市民卻沒有足夠居住空間。迫遷方面,由於八成強拍規定50年以上的樓宇,不論安全狀況,只要八成物業被收購,最後二成物業即可被強制拍賣,發展商基本上只需以底價即可收購物業,法例幫助收購者以低價強收私人財產。
* 香港社區組織協會施麗珊指出,自1998年廢除租管及2004年廢除租住權管制,業主可任意加租及迫遷,租客毫無保障。過去幾年公屋供應不足及減少,申請者增至24萬戶,政府聲稱的三年上樓承諾只是謊話,單身人士輪候十年以上,迫使愈來愈多人租住籠屋、板間房及劏房等不適切居所,籠屋最細床位不足12呎。
* 彩虹行動Tommy仔反映同性戀人士申請公屋受到不公平對待。
* 人權監察總幹事羅沃啟指出在港難民居住環璄極度惡劣。

委員亦問及香港政府是否重視聯合國的建議,民間團體以具體例子反映情況。
* 以《種族歧視條例》立法過程為例,政府雖然根據聯合國建議移除草案內一些豁免條款,條例仍漏洞甚多,很多政府的職權不受法例規管,可見政府對聯合國機制沒有足夠重視。
* 香港人權聯委會及香港社區組織協會代表蔡耀昌舉例指出委員會的審議結論對民間推動政府改善人權有重大幫助。委員會的審議結論曾對香港特區政府收緊新來港人士申領綜援的居港年期表示關注,這項政策剛於去年12月被終審法院判決違憲,法官的判詞引用了委員會的審議結論作為判案依據。

有見於委員會同時處理內地和香港問題,香港人權監察總幹事羅沃啟和香港社區組織協會施麗珊要求委員跟進跨境問題。中港家庭的港人內地配偶,一旦成為單親家長,即無法獲得單程證來港,而其子女屬香港居民,在內地沒有戶口,不能在內地入學。在離婚個案中,香港家事法庭判決子女不能離港,內地又不批准分隔單親母親來港定居照顧這些兒童,她們只能以3個月甚至14日探親證往來照顧子女,嚴重影響這些兒童的身心成長。中港政府不肯在單程證政策上設立分隔單親名額,只肯以個案形式酌情處理,酌情範圍更只針對喪偶單親,且進展極慢,令近7000名單親中港家庭的兒童,仿如孤兒。

劉慧卿告訴委員,與中國大陸相比,香港十分細小,但若香港能在一國兩制下成功發展,維持自由和法治,對香港和整個中國都十分重要。

附件:

Top Issues of Concerns of Hong Kong SAR NGOs
7 May 2014

1. The failure to incorporate ICESCR provisions into domestic legislation: ICCPR is incorporated in HK via the Bill of Rights Ordinance, but there is no equivalent incorporation of ICESCR in HK law, in spite of the Committee’s concerns on this issue in 2001 Concluding Observations, para.15(a). This undermines the status of ICESCR, and renders the protection thereunder inadequate and incoherent. We urge the Committee to recommend that HK comprehensively incorporate ICESCR standards fully into domestic law. (Karen Kong, Law Faculty, HK University & HK Bar Association)

2. Human Rights Institution: A Human Rights Commission should be established in HK with a broad mandate covering all international human rights standards. (Equal Opportunities Commission)

3. Suppression of media development and press freedom hinder implementation of the Covenant: Mainland and HKSAR authorities suppress media development by deterring the media from accessing public information, refusing to issue new licenses to broadcast free television programmes on dubious grounds, etc. We urge the Committee to ask authorities to stop interfering in the media's creativity and freedom of expression, stop interfering in the independence and autonomy of RTHK, open the free television market, introduce Archive Law and Freedom of Information Ordinance, and combat and deter violence against journalists and media organizations. (Democratic Party of Hong Kong)

4. No comprehensive poverty alleviation strategy (Q.54, List of Issues): The number of poor population in HK in 2012 rose to 1.31 million, the highest since 2000. We urge the HK Government to adopt a proactive public financial ideology by allocating more public resources to tackle income disparity, introducing a long-term comprehensive poverty alleviation strategy and a time schedule to reduce poor population and eradicate poverty. (HK Human Rights Commission and Society for Community Organization)

5. Difficulties faced by people living in inadequate housing (Q.55, List of Issues): There are more illegal cage homes and high private rents are beyond the affordability of the poor. We request the HK Government to increase the supply of public housing and legislate on rent control. (HK Human Rights Commission and Society for Community Organization)

6. Labour rights: We urge the Committee to reiterate your concerns on HK’s lack of legislation on standard working hours, universal retirement protection and collective bargaining. (HK Human Rights Commission and Society for Community Organization)

7. 4.18 requirements, training for women, gender budgeting: The labour laws should be revised to abolish the unreasonable “4.18 requirements”, which make protection and benefit entitlement for employees working 18 hours a week for a continuous period of four weeks or more, resulting in many casual work patterns and serious exploitation of part-time workers, mostly women. Gender budgeting should be introduced to help to have a more balanced training resources for women, and for equitable enjoyment of other covenant rights. (HK Human Rights Monitor)

8. Health inequality of the poor, marginalized and elderly (2005 Concluding Observations): We hope the Committee to express concern that the Government’s promotion of the private medical sector and medical industry by providing benefits and subsidies to private hospitals and voluntary private insurance scheme brings brain drain, medical inflation and decline of service quality in the public health sector. Long waiting time, overloaded medical staff, and non-subsidy of many expensive drugs in public hospitals leads to compromising right to health of the general public who cannot afford private services. We urge the HK Government to increase resources allocated to the public health sector in response to the increasing demands of aging population, and to suspend development of the private sector before capable of providing sufficient medical personnel. (HK Human Rights Monitor & Legal Academic Karen Kong)

9. Mental illness (Q.56, List of Issues): We hope the Committee will express concerns on discrimination against mental patients and rehabilitants, the over-emphasis of medical treatments in community care, and the inadequacy and lack of coordination of community support, and urge the HK Government to accept the request of the EOC and the civil society to establish the Mental Health Council. (HK Human Rights Monitor)

10. Discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity: In its Response to the List of Issues the HK Government called such legislation “highly controversial” citing concerns about “family, religion and education.” Such misplaced concerns will be easily dispelled when the Government puts forward a draft bill to begin a public consultation process. We encourage the committee to press the HK Government to specify a date that they will release a draft Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance. (Rainbow Action and EOC)

11. Discrimination against New Immigrants from Mainland China (Q. 42, List of Issues): In response to growing discrimination, we recommend the Government to amend the Racial Discrimination Ordinance to include mainlander or new immigrant from Mainland China status. (HK Human Rights Commission and Society for Community Organization)

12. Split single parent family reunion (Q.51, List of Issues): There are approximately 7,000 HK children whose mothers are Mainland residents and their fathers, who are HK citizens, died or have abandoned them. We urge the HK Government cooperate with Chinese Government to issue one-way permit to these mothers and exercise discretionary power to issue identity cards to them. (HK Human Rights Commission and Society for Community Organization)

13. Migrant Domestic Workers (2001 and 2005 Concluding Observations): We urge the Committee to reiterate its concerns about abuses against migrant domestic workers, agency exploitation and discrimination, the two-week rule and live-in rule. We also suggest the Committee consider migrant domestic workers’ debt-bondage contracts as a modern form of forced labour and human trafficking. (HK Human Rights Monitor)

14. About ethnic minorities, we urge the Government to:
 Eliminate the de facto racial segregation in the public education system (para. 58 of list of issues);
 Provide details of recent Chinese-language education policy initiatives for ethnic minorities to ensure new initiatives, unlike the old ones, really give ethnic minorities an equal opportunities to learn Chinese (para 59 of list of issues); and
 Propose amendments to the Race Discrimination Ordinance to bring government's exercise of powers and performance of functions as well as discrimination on the ground of nationality within its purview (para 42 of list of issues). (Hong Kong Unison)

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