UN experts urge Hong Kong authorities to repeal security law | National Policy
GENEVA (AP) — United Nations-backed independent human rights experts on Thursday called on Hong Kong authorities to repeal a national security law that has stoked protests and criticism over the tightening grip of China on the freewheeling semi-autonomous region.
The UN-backed Human Rights Committee has added its voice to independent advocacy groups who say the national security law was passed by the National People’s Congress in Beijing without meaningful consultation. adequately the population of Hong Kong.
Since its passage in 2020, the law has reportedly been enforced in connection with the arrest of more than 200 people, experts say.
The committee aims to ensure that the signatories of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights respect their commitments with respect to the rights and freedoms of individuals.
The committee’s findings, part of a regular review of parties to the convention, expose again the complexities of Beijing’s control over Hong Kong over the past 25 years. The findings were released on Thursday after a series of hearings – including Hong Kong authorities – earlier this month.
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The Chinese region of Macao, Georgia, Ireland, Luxembourg and Uruguay were also examined.
Hong Kong joined the convention after Britain, the region’s former colonial ruler, ratified it in 1976. After Hong Kong was handed over to China in 1997, Chinese officials told the leader of UN that the convention would continue to apply to the region.
“Hong Kong, China should ensure that the compact prevails over local laws and laws applicable in Hong Kong, including national security law, and bring such laws and practices into full compliance with the compact,” wrote the experts.
Addressing Hong Kong – not China, which has not ratified the pact – the committee’s deputy chairman, Christopher Arif Bulkan, told reporters: “The committee has urged Hong Kong to take steps to repeal the national security law and, in the meantime, refrain from applying it”.
Hong Kong authorities, which are increasingly close to Beijing, were seen as unlikely to heed that call.
Last year, Amnesty International said the security law had decimated Hong Kong’s freedoms and created a landscape increasingly devoid of human rights protections.
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