The Human Rights Committee, Hong Kong and Macau's reviews

Ahead of Hong Kong and Macau's review by the Human Rights Committee in July 2022, ISHR has prepared an explainer summarising the Committee's work to oversee the implementation of civil and political rights, and opportunities for civil society engagement in its review process. Civil society plays a vital role in informing the Committee's assessment, and pointing to key areas of concern.

Update: Read ISHR's coverage of the Human Rights Committee's conclusions on Hong Kong here.


The Human Rights Committee is a UN committee of 18 independent experts in charge of supervising the implementation of the civil and political rights guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (or ‘ICCPR’) by the countries that ratified it.

The People's Republic of China has not ratified the ICCPR, that is then not applicable to mainland China. Yet, the international agreements governing the handover of Hong Kong and Macau to China ensured the ICCPR would still apply in both areas, after having its jurisdiction previously extended to both regions by the United Kingdom and Portugal respectively.

The Human Rights Committee is one of the ten so-called UN ‘Treaty Bodies’ – the guardians of the nine main international human rights treaties –, and is considered – alongside other Treaty Bodies – as a ‘quasi-judicial’ body, as it emanates from a legally-binding treaty. It reviews the implementation of the ICCPR by countries on a regular basis, usually every four to eight years, through a dedicated review process that takes into account civil society 'shadow' reports. 

Hong Kong and Macao’s Lists of Issues – the first stage of review – were adopted by the Committee in August 2020 : both regions are now set for formal review during the Committee’s upcoming session in July 2022. Civil society can send reports by 30 May 2022, and join briefings with the Committee.

Download our explainer in English, Chinese or Cantonese, to learn more.