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Analytical Studies

Summit Performance Assessments by Issue
Hong Kong, China and Human Rights

Pre-Summit Objectives and Assessments

With regards to the transition in Hong Kong, it was expected that the Eight leaders will commit themselves to ensuring that respect for human rights and democracy is maintained.

Section 83 of the communiqué states: "...we welcome and place weight on China's commitments contained in the 1984 UK-PRC Joint Declaration and in the 1990 PRC Basic Law. These include ensuring Hong Kong's continued stability and prosperity and preserving its way of life, its high degree of autonomy...its fundamental freedoms and the rule of law...we look forward to democratic elections in Hong Kong for a new legislature as soon as possible".

The statement of intent among the Eight leaders clearly indicates that they are prepared to hold China to its commitments and ensure that the above stated objectives are adhered to. The ambition level of this commitment is quite high, given the political sensitivity of this situation, indicating that the unfolding events in China are being monitored closely by all G8 countries.

Grade: A+

With regards to the political instability in Cambodia specifically, it is expected that the Eight leaders commit themselves to ensuring that human rights and democracy are respected and they encourage the Cambodian government to practice good governance.

Section 68 of the communiqué states: "We have a responsibility and opportunity to further strengthen democratic values and fundamental freedoms where they have taken hold and extend their reach where they have not".

Section 69 of the communiqué states: "Human rights are at the heart of our concerns. Ensuring accountability for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law is essential to promote conflict resolution and peace".

Section 70 of the communiqué states" ...we will work together in the coming year to build on our governments' most effective democratic development, peace-building and human rights programs. Our efforts will focus on promoting good governance and the rule of law, strengthening civil society...".

Although the communiqué does not specifically mention Cambodia, it implies that a lack of respect for basic human rights and fundamental freedoms is not acceptable anywhere. The ambition level for zero- tolerance of such actions is high. However, due to the failure of the Eight to specifically target the on-going crimes against humanity in Cambodia, the ambition level for the above stated objective is low.

Grade: C+

Prepared by: Marianne Paul

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