A report on human rights and democracy, released this week by the European Union, has found that the rights and fundamental freedoms of people in Macau continued to be respected by the government in 2016 and the rule of law was generally upheld.
The report is intended to provide a broad picture of the EU’s human rights efforts towards third countries in the calendar year of 2016. It aims to map in detail the human rights situation across the globe.
In a short three paragraphs on the Macau SAR, the EU report said that the major human rights issues in the territory include “trafficking in human beings, the lack of a framework for greater democratic participation, and the failure to enforce laws regarding collective bargaining.”
It also said “the [MSAR] government remained opposed to a suggestion by the UN Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) to establish an independent human rights body, arguing that this recommendation was not applicable to Macau as a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China.”
Referring to a joint workshop on human trafficking held in January 2016, the report noted the EU’s eagerness to work with Macau in the future to reinforce their cooperation in this area.
Earlier versions of the EU’s annual report on human rights and democracy did not include a summary of Macau.
The findings in the latest report come in stark contrast to another report released earlier this month by the Congressional Executive Commission on China of the US government, which noted several worrying trends with regard to the rights and freedoms of the press and citizens writ large.
The more favorable EU report did not prompt the government to issue a statement as it did earlier this month in the case of the US Congress report, where it claimed that the latter report contained “groundless and baseless claims, and made inappropriate comments about Macau’s internal affairs.”
The latest edition of the US Congress report covered approximately the last third of 2016 and the first two-thirds of this year. DB