Refugees and asylum-seekers
While noting planned reform in torture claims procedure, CERD recommended that the government guarantee the rights of asylum-seekers to information, interpretation, legal assistance and judicial remedies and encouraged the adoption of a refugee law with a comprehensive screening procedure for individual asylum claims. It also repeated its recommendation that the authorities ratify the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol.
Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people
On 31 December, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced that amendments to the Domestic Violence Ordinance would extend protection to samesex cohabitants and take effect on 1 January 2010. HKSAR law did not prohibit discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Macao Special Administrative Region
In June, sole candidate Fernando Chui Sai-on was elected by a 300-member election committee to become the city's Chief Executive until 2014. In September, 12 candidates were directly elected to the 29-seat legislature. The remaining legislators are appointed or chosen by functional constituencies.
In February, the Legislative Assembly passed the National Security Law covering acts of "sedition", "secession", "subversion", "treason" and "theft of state secrets". Vague definitions of the crimes could be used to abuse the rights to freedom of expression and association. Tens of Hong Kong citizens, including legislative councillors, activists, journalists and a law professor, who were attempting to participate in activities concerning the proposed new law, were denied entry to Macao. In December, three Hong Kong activists, who planned to call for the release of Liu Xiaobo during a visit by President Hu Jintao, were also denied entry.