CHILDREN'S RIGHTS

Hong Kong is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) since 1994 and the Government established the Commission on Children in mid-2018. The four main pillars of UNCRC are non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.

 

In accordance to the Concluding Observations by Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2013, there is a lack of general legislation providing for the best interests of the child in Hong Kong. Also, Hong Kong has to further implement programmes to combat discrimination against children with disabilities, undocumented children of migrant workers, and refugee and asylum-seeking children, and to ensure that all children have equal access to basic services, including health, education and other social service.

 

Currently, Hong Kong does not have its own Children’s Bill nor a consolidated legal definition of "child abuse". That said, the Social Welfare Department has revised its Procedural Guide for Handling Child Abuse Cases and produced leaflets for Multi-disciplinary Case Conference on Protection of Child with Suspected Abuse in 2018. In terms of special education, Hong Kong currently provides special education services to children with special education needs (SEN). It is recommended that Hong Kong should identify and remove all barriers that prevent students with disabilities from entering and staying in the mainstream system and reallocate resources from the special education system to promote inclusive education in mainstream schools.

 

PUBLICATIONS & SUBMISSIONS

Newspaper Articles & Blog Posts
 

Applying the Right to Family in the Immigration Context of Hong Kong (Blog Post) - by Karen Kong

International Association of Constitutional Law Blog, 19 June 2019

Journal Articles/Other Papers
 

A Comparative Study on Children’s Rights Education: Implications for Policy Reform in Hong Kong (June 2015)

As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Hong Kong’s obligation under Article 42 “to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike” should have directly influenced both education policy and training and practice of educators. However, to date, Children’s Rights Education (CRE) is seldom incorporated as an element of teacher training, is not a significant part of the school curriculum and is not entirely part of the school ethos across most Hong Kong schools and educational institutions.

 

Race and Equality: A Study of Ethnic Minorities in Hong Kong’s Education System - by Kelley Loper (February 2004)

Book Chapters

Executive Summary: Children’s Rights Education: International Legal Framework and State Party Obligations (September 2014)

Government Submissions
 

Dreams of Pakistani Children: In-depth conversations with 22 girls and 3 boys - by Puja Kapai (April 2019)

Women's Studies Research Centre (WSRC) Convenor Puja Kapai recently launched her research report on Dreams of Pakistani Children: In-depth conversations with 22 girls and 3 boys, commissioned by the Zubin Foundation and funded by Plan International Hong Kong. The report was presented to the Secretary for Labour and Welfare and has served as the basis for discussion with relevant stakeholders at the initial launch. As the research findings show, practices, expectations and experiences of a sample of Pakistani girls in Hong Kong is indicative of challenges to their equal right to education, their developmental rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the realization of their full potential towards a life they aspire to lead. The findings confirm that early engagement is seen as prevalent among Pakistani girls in Hong Kong. This sets them on course towards a trajectory where they are expected to abandon their dreams to study or work in later years of their life and work towards the fulfillment of their family’s expectations for their marriage and building a suitable home life. The research findings provide detailed insights into the different contexts and factors which constrain the dreams and aspirations of Pakistani girls in Hong Kong at different stages of their lives. In particular, it highlights key areas for support and the provision of opportunities and incentives for all related Hong Kong stakeholders to address the gendered impact of the operative norms and structures on Pakistani girls, with the hope of identifying a multi-disciplinary approach to enhancing the prospects for equality of access to education and other forms of empowerment of Pakistani girls’.

Full Report (English only) Infographic (English) Photographs (Chinese)

Submission to the Legislative Council’s Subcommittee on Children’s Rights - by Puja Kapai (22 January 2018​)

The numerous tragedies afflicting children in Hong Kong where abuse towards them has resulted in their death, serious harms and injuries and life-long psychological impairment have also called attention to our broken system where law, policies, frontline responders and the social welfare system, in general, failed our children. Against this backdrop, Puja Kapai submitted to the Legislative Council’s Subcommittee on Children’s Rights on “Rights of children affected by domestic violence”.

Submission to the Legislative Council's Panel on Welfare Services - by Puja Kapai (4 October 2017)

Puja Kapai submitted to the Panel on Welfare Services with regards to the proposed legislation to implement the recommendations of the Law Reform Commission Report on Child Custody and Access and relevant support measures. This paper seeks to focus specifically on the invariable incompatibility between the proposed model and the outcomes for families where domestic violence and abuse has featured prominently in the relationship.

 

Submission to the Government: Education of Ethnic Minority Children - by Puja Kapai (December 2011)

 
 
A Comparative Study on Children’s Rights Education: Implications for Policy Reform in Hong Kong

As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Hong Kong’s obligation under Article 42 “to make the principles and provisions of the Convention widely known by appropriate and active means, to adults and children alike” should have directly influenced both education policy and training and practice of educators. However, to date, Children’s Rights Education (CRE) is seldom incorporated as an element of teacher training, is not a significant part of the school curriculum and is not entirely part of the school ethos across most Hong Kong schools and educational institutions.

 

In the only comprehensive study of its kind in Hong Kong, a multidisciplinary team of scholars from the University of Hong Kong examined the extent to which the HKSAR Government has met its Article 42 obligations. In particular, the study explored the current state of CRE implementation in Hong Kong schools and compared the pedagogy, policy and practices in Hong Kong against international best practices identified through an extensive literature review and qualitative surveys. Drawing on the findings, the research team proposed recommendations for structural and substantive improvements to Hong Kong’s policies in relation to fulfilling its Article 42 obligations pertaining to CRE under the UNCRC.

 

RESEARCH PROJECTS

 

FACULTY EXPERTISE

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Kelley Loper
Associate Professor

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Puja Kapai
Associate Professor of Law