Children’s Commission for Hong Kong

In July 2017, the Hong Kong Committee on Children’s Rights (“HKCCR”) released a Paper entitled “Children’s Commission for Hong Kong” and a Wish List for Children’s Commission in Hong Kong for an indication of support from stakeholders.

The above Paper summarises the international minimum standards and overseas experiences on a Children’s Commission as follows:

  • The Commission must at least be legislatively mandated and should be accorded with such powers as are necessary to enable them to discharge their mandate effectively
  • The Commission’s establishment process should be consultative, inclusive and transparent, initiated and supported at the highest levels of the government, the legislature and civil society
  • The United Nations Committee states that it is the duty of States to make reasonable financial provision for the operation of the Commission
  • The Commission should ensure that their composition includes pluralistic representation
  • The Commission must have power to consider individual complaints and petitions and carry out investigations
  • The Commission should be geographically and physically accessible to all children
  • The Commission has a key role to play in promoting respect for the views of the children in all matters affecting them as, articulated in article 12 of the Commission on the Rights of the Child (“article 12“)
  • The Commission should devise specially tailored consultation programmes and imaginative communications strategies to ensure full compliance with article 12
  • The Commission must have the right to report directly, independently and separately on the state of children’s rights to the public and to parliamentary bodies

The Wish List on the other hand sets out the following proposed mandates to be given to the Children’s Commission:

  • conducting investigations and providing remedies for child rights violations
  • setting up a Child Data Bank and a Research Institute for Children in Hong Kong
  • setting up a Child Impact Assessment mechanism
  • mainstreaming children’s rights into the Government policy system
  • setting up a Child Consultation System to hear children’s voice
  • requesting a clear budget for children and their rights
  • pushing for a Children’s Policy and a Children’s Ordinance
  • ensuring a strategic plan of actions on Children’s rights
  • ensuring child rights specific education and professional Training

With the assistance of the Family Law Committee, the Council has reviewed the Paper and the Wish List. The Law Society indicates support for a Children’s Commission in Hong Kong with independence and legal mandates in accordance with the international minimum standards. The Law Society also supports the proposed legal mandates to be given to the Children’s Commission as set out in the Wish List.