Spokesperson briefs UN Committee against Torture about Macau domestic violence legislation

Dear distinguished members of the Committee,

On behalf of Rainbow of Macau, I would like to stress the importance of reinstating protection of same-sex couples in Macau’s domestic violence bill.

In line with the decisions of the UN Human Rights Committee in Edward Young v. Australia in 2003, and X v. Colombia in 2007, requiring that same-sex couples be granted the same rights and benefits as unmarried heterosexual couples, the Macau government should ensure that this principle is respected in every piece of legislation.

Despite our year-long conversation with the authorities, the government insists on denying equal protection against domestic violence for the reasons of “maintaining the consistency of legal system” and “the absence of social consensus on same-sex couples as family members.” Whether these concerns are valid or not, they must be overridden by the Macau government’s obligations under the Convention to take all necessary and effective measures to protect people against inhuman treatment, including all forms of violence.

Moreover, the withdrawal of equal protection for persons in same-sex relationships will send a harmful message to the Macau communities that prejudice on the basis of sexual orientation may be justifiable, even when it is expressed through violence.

The bill has passed its first reading and is now under revision. So now is the best and last chance for this UN mechanism to urge the Macau government to bring this piece of legislation into conformity with international human rights law.

– Oral Statement to the Committee against Torture at its 56th Session by Jason Teng Hei CHAO, Spokesperson, Rainbow of Macau