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Macao defends its human rights record

At a United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva this week, Macao officials sought to allay global concerns.

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UPDATED: 25 Jan 2024, 8:25 am

The Macao government has attempted to counter international criticism of its human and labour rights record.

At a meeting on Tuesday of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, the SAR’s justice secretary, Cheong Weng Chon, highlighted Macao’s first minimum wage law, passed in 2020, and spoke of human rights training given to government officials, judicial officers, teachers and others.

He said the government was collaborating with NGOs to educate people on human rights.

[See more: ‘I want my life to have a purpose.’ Meet the women fighting for a better deal for their fellow domestic helpers]

Cheong was the deputy head of China’s delegation to Geneva, which was led by the representative of the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations in Geneva, Chen Xu.

The secretary’s remarks come amid growing concern over the exemption of domestic helpers and the disabled from the territory’s minimum wage legislation.

Earlier this week, the Philippine consul general in Macao, Porfirio Mayo Jr., told local media that helpers should receive such protection. More than half the city’s domestic workers are Philippine nationals who earn less than 5,000 patacas a month – significantly less than Macao’s minimum wage of 7,072 patacas per month.

UPDATED: 25 Jan 2024, 8:25 am

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