The UN human rights chief said on Friday her office is closely following consideration in China’s National People’s Congress of a draft national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
While the law is not available for review yet, Michelle Bachelet said in a statement that any legislation for Hong Kong and its implementation must fully comply with China’s human rights obligations.
Bachelet said they must respect the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as applied to Hong Kong.
“Article 39 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR also provides that any restrictions on rights and freedoms shall not contravene these provisions,” she added.
The UN Human Rights Office said that along with independent UN human rights experts, including the Committee against Torture, it has previously expressed concerns that the national security law adopted in 2015 for mainland China does not comply with international human rights standards.
It said that any law on national security should be clear in scope and definition, and only permit strictly necessary and proportionate restrictions.
“There should be meaningful legislative and judicial oversight of the implementation of such legislation. Such laws can never be used to criminalize conduct and expression that is protected under international human rights law,” Bachelet said.
The rights office said that public debates and participation in the decision-making process relating to national security measures are also crucial, considering the potential such actions have to restrict people’s human rights.
The Human Rights Office said it had engaged with the Chinese authorities on this matter and will continue to closely monitor the situation.
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