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Hong Kong security law condemned by IBA

28 May 2020

The International Bar Association (IBA) has condemned China’s proposed National Security Law for Hong Kong.

One report says the law would make criminal any act of:

  • secession - breaking away from the country
  • subversion - undermining the power or authority of the central government
  • terrorism - using violence or intimidation against people
  • activities by foreign forces that interfere in Hong Kong

The Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government is concerned at the introduction of the legislation.

“We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong Kong is assured of a high degree of autonomy,” Mr Peters says.

“Legislating on Hong Kong’s behalf without the direct participation of its people and legislature would challenge that principle.”

The IBA and its autonomous Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) have issued a joint statement on the legislation.

“The introduction of such law would violate the ‘one country, two systems’ principle enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and undermine the autonomy of Hong Kong. We condemn the potential infringements,” the statement says.

“We are concerned that the proposed legislation will be used as a further means to restrict the rights of peaceful protestors, in a similar way to the Public Order Ordinance, and that the freedoms of prominent human rights defenders, such as Martin Lee and Margaret Ng, will be curtailed.

“This would be a direct contravention of obligations to uphold rights under the Basic Law and International Human Rights Law, including Article 27 of the Basic Law which grants Hong Kong residents the ‘freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association and of demonstration’.

“We are concerned that the central and city government security agencies will establish a presence in Hong Kong under the guise of national security, and that Hong Kong’s foreign judges, who sit on the Court of Final Appeal to ensure international standards are met, will no longer be allowed to adjudicate on cases of national security. This threat to judicial independence is unconscionable.”

The statement is signed by Horacio Bernardes Neto, the President of the IBA, Mark Ellis, the IBA’s Executive Director, and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC,  Director, of IBAHRI.

Last updated on the 28th May 2020