Volker Türk calls to repeal national security legislation in Hong Kong

The High Commissioner also highlighted the situation of seven individuals facing charges under a new national security ordinance passed in Hong Kong SAR in March 2024.


Devdiscourse News Desk | Geneva | Updated: 03-06-2024 15:24 IST | Created: 03-06-2024 13:43 IST
Volker Türk calls to repeal national security legislation in Hong Kong
Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Image Credit:

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk voiced his concern on Friday regarding the recent application of national security laws in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China.

On Thursday, fourteen people were found guilty of conspiracy to subvert under the Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, which was enacted in July 2020 by the National People’s Congress of China. Two of the defendants were acquitted.

“My Office and other UN human rights experts have raised repeated concerns that this legislation does not comply with China’s obligations under international human rights law and, in particular, those with respect to Hong Kong under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” Türk stated. “As the UN Human Rights Committee has stated, this legislation should be repealed and, in the meantime, not applied.”

The High Commissioner also highlighted the situation of seven individuals facing charges under a new national security ordinance passed in Hong Kong SAR in March 2024. This legislation, enacted under Article 23 of the Basic Law, expanded the 2020 legislation, introducing additional categories of crimes such as treason, insurrection, offences in connection with state secrets and espionage, sabotage and endangering national security, and external interference.

“Any law on national security needs to be clear in scope and definition, and only permit restrictions on human rights that are strictly necessary and proportionate. I have already expressed concerns that the broad and vague provisions could be arbitrarily applied to curb freedom of expression and target dissenting voices, civil society actors, and human rights defenders,” Türk said.

“I reiterate my call to release immediately and unconditionally all those arbitrarily arrested and detained under these laws,” Türk stressed.

The High Commissioner’s statement underscores ongoing international concerns about the impact of Hong Kong’s national security laws on human rights and civil liberties in the region.  

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