HRN has submitted an oral statement to the Human Rights Council in Geneva protesting the continuing crackdown on civil society in Hong Kong, including against activists, NGOs, and journalists, since the National Security Law took effect in 2020. We also criticize abusive legal developments including the narrowing of legal protections in sedition cases and the denial of a lawyer of one’s own choosing for legal aid.
The video was played at the Human Rights Council on March 22, the stream of which you can watch from this link: https://media.un.org/en/asset/k1g/k1ggzvygkx?kalturaStartTime=1548
You can watch the video of the oral statement below, as well as read a transcript of the oral statement below that.
Transcript of Oral Statement on Hong Kong
Human Rights Now protests the continuing crackdown on civil society in Hong Kong. Police have arrested over 160 under the National Security Law since it took effect, with over 100 prosecutions. Over 50 non-profit organizations have dissolved under threat of punishment.
Press Freedom is at a record low. Reporters Without Borders ranked Hong Kong’s press freedom at 80 out of 180 countries, dropping 7 positions since the National Security Law passed. More than 13 people, including editors at Stand News and Apple Daily, have been charged with sedition, and all independent media outlets have been forced to close.
Abusive legal developments also greatly concern us. The Sedition Law remains grossly over-broad in its application, which the Human Rights Committee criticized more than 20 years ago. National security-related norms, such as a denial of the rights to bail and jury, as well as the presumption of innocence, have also expanded into sedition cases without justification. The denial of a lawyer of one’s own choosing for legal aid is also a troubling step towards mainland China’s illegitimate system of representation by government-assigned lawyers.
Human Rights Now calls on relevant authorities in Hong Kong and China to end the arbitrary punishment of critics and media figures and to repeal all laws inconsistent with Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
Thank you very much.