UN body says China must repeal its Hong Kong national security law

·2-min read

The UN Human Rights Committee on Wednesday called on China to repeal the national security law in Hong Kong that Beijing imposed last year after massive pro-democracy protests across the region.

In its report, the UNHCR said that the committee was “deeply concerned about the overly broad interpretation of Hong Kong’s national security law [NSL], which was passed by the National People’s Congress of China without consultation with the Hong Kong public”.

It added that “since its enactment in 2020, the NSL has reportedly led to the arrests of over 200 people, including 12 children”.

The UN watchdog also underscored the shortcomings of the national security law, including the lack of clarity on “national security”, the statement said, and the “possibility of transferring cases from Hong Kong to mainland China, which is not a State party to the Covenant, for investigation, prosecution, trial and execution of penalties”.

The UNHCR urged Hong Kong to take action to repeal the national security law and, in the meantime, refrain from applying it.

In the report, the UN body said that “the Committee also raised concern about the excessive number of civil society organisations, such as trade unions and student unions, which have relocated or ceased to operate since the enactment of the NSL”.

It also mentioned and said it regretted that the Hong Kong government “had not provided explicit assurances that civil society and their representatives engaging with the Committee in this review would be protected from charges under the NSL”.

The Committee has now requested that Hong Kong refrain from taking any action that could curb the freedom of association and ensure that members of civil society will not be prosecuted under the NSL for their participation in the current review, the report said.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for Hong Kong’s Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said authorities were “completely dismayed that the committee continues to express unsubstantiated criticisms”.

It added that “it should be stressed that the National Security Law was enacted to restore the enjoyment of rights and freedoms which many people in (Hong Kong) had been unable to enjoy during the period of serious violence between June 2019 and early 2020”.

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