top of page


Chapter III of the Basic Law contains provisions that guarantee the fundamental rights of the residents of Hong Kong. They include various civil and political rights as well as, to a more limited extent, economic and social rights. Article 39 of the Basic Law states that provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) as applied to Hong Kong shall be in force and be implemented through the laws of Hong Kong.

With regard to civil and political rights, Hong Kong people enjoy the protection of the Basic Law, the ICCPR, and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance (Cap.383) which incorporates the ICCPR into the domestic legal system. For economic and social rights, however, there is no equivalent wholesale incorporation of the ICESCR via a single domestic legal instrument. Instead, these rights are protected under the Basic Law provisions where such rights are constitutionally guaranteed, and through various existing legislation, such as the Housing Ordinance (Cap.283).



Journal Articles

All for Some' or 'Some for All'? Assessing the Realisation of the Right to Social Welfare in the Retirement Protection Reform in Hong Kong - By Karen Kong

(2016) 46 Hong Kong Law Journal 779-791


Kong Yunming v Director of Social Welfare: Implications for Law and Policy on Social Welfare - By Karen Kong

(2014) 44 Hong Kong Law Journal 67-81


Adjudicating Social Welfare Rights in Hong Kong* - By Karen Kong
(2012) 10 International Journal of Constitutional Law 588-599


The Right to Food For All: A Right-based Approach to Hunger and Social Inequality - By Karen Kong
(2009) 32 Suffolk Transnational Law Review 525-566


Public Interest Litigation in Hong Kong: A New Hope for Social Transformation? - By Karen Kong
(2009) 28 Civil Justice Quarterly 327-343


Book Chapters

"Social Justice and Social Rights in Hong Kong: Judicial Review Developments and Proposal for Legislative Change" in Surya Deva (ed.), Socio-Economic Rights in Emerging Free Markets: Comparative Insights from India and China (London: Routledge, 2015) - By Karen Kong


"The Right to Social Welfare” in Johannes Chan SC (Hons) & C.L. Lim (eds.), Law of the Hong Kong Constitution (Sweet & Maxwell, 2011) - By Karen Kong


Newspaper Articles

Government has a legal obligation to meet HK people's right to housing

South China Morning Post, Letter to the Editor, 23 June 2011


Covenant says that poor must be given help

South China Morning Post, Letter to the Editor, 14 March 2011


不能忽視的另一種人權 (A kind of Human Rights that Should Not be Neglected)

明報 (Ming Pao Daily), 22 March 2010



Rights Talk Series

The Constitution of Economic Liberty in Hong Kong, 29 September 2014

Lectures​ & Trainings

Research Projects


Coming soon...
Economic and Social Rights Network.png
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
AESR Network
Faculty Expertise



Karen Kong
Principal Lecturer


Useful Links
bottom of page