Top Rights Experts Call for Repeal of Hong Kong’s National Security Law |

Chinese and Hong Kong officials said the law, imposed “overnight” by Beijing in June 2020, was necessary to restore and preserve stability after anti-government and anti-China protests erupted in 2019.

Unclear definition

the UN Human Rights Committee pointed to shortcomings in the National Security Law (NSL), including its lack of clarity on “national security” and the ability to transfer business from Hong Kong to mainland China.

“There has been a lot of discussion about recent legislation, including Hong Kong’s national security law. I think there was a constructive discussion on these issues and the committee raised its concerns,” said Photini Pazartzis, chair of the human rights committee, at a press conference in Geneva.

The panel urged Hong Kong to repeal the national security law and, in the meantime, refrain from enforcing it.

“The Committee was deeply concerned about the overbroad interpretation of Hong Kong’s national security law, the NSL, which was passed by China’s National People’s Congress without consultation with the Hong Kong public,” it said. the vice-president, Christopher Arif Balkan.

Dozens of child arrests

He added that since its introduction in 2020, the NSL has reportedly led to the arrest of “more than 200 people, including 12 children”.

The Committee monitors the application of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by States Parties. It released its findings on Hong Kong following a scheduled review in Geneva.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a signatory to the Covenant for Investigations, Prosecutions, Trials and Enforcement of Sentences, but mainland China is not.

“Once a State party has subscribed to the Covenant, it is bound to enforce these rights.

“In other words, your local law cannot override these rights. There are human rights, after all, universal rights,” explained Mr. Arif Balkan. “China is not a party to the ICCPR. But China will then be able to implement the NSL in Hong Kong. So it creates a gap for Hong Kong residents,” he added.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with the guarantee of a high level of autonomy, including freedom of expression. Representatives of the semi-autonomous territory informed the Committee that they were considering new national security legislation. Committee members said they hoped the law could be changed for the better.

Broken promises

“They gave us assurances that there would be transparency, consultations when enacting a new security law,” Mr. Arif Balkan said.

The United Nations Human Rights Committee released its findings on Hong Kong, China, among other countries, after the conclusion of its 135th session on Wednesday in the Swiss city.

The conclusions contained the main concerns and recommendations of the Committee regarding the implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, as well as positive aspects.

The Human Rights Committee monitors state parties’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It has been ratified by 173 States parties. The Committee is composed of 18 members who are independent human rights experts from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.

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