45 civil groups decry Hong Kong’s ‘deteriorating rule of law and human rights environment’ in UN submission
By Kris Cheng
A group of 45 civil society organisations have submitted more than 100 suggestions to the United Nations relating to Hong Kong’s “deteriorating rule of law and human rights environment.”
The joint submission was made to the UN Human Rights Council for the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on China, which will take place in November and will be attended by Hong Kong government officials. The last UPR was held in 2013, and the groups suggested that a lot has changed in Hong Kong since then.
“The increasing erosion of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong will be under the international spotlight in the coming months. The UPR is an opportunity for the government to show it is serious in upholding its human rights obligations,” said Simon Henderson, the spokesperson for the coalition of civil groups.
Henderson said that the review on Hong Kong is considered part of China’s, but although the UN made 300 suggestions relating to China in 2013, none were made for Hong Kong. He said it was the first time Hong Kong groups had come together to provide such a large number of suggestions.
The coalition includes concern groups on disabilities, gender recognition, freedom of speech, gay rights, domestic worker rights, environment, open data and ethnic minorities, among others.
“The submission provides a roadmap of specific, measurable and achievable recommendations for Hong Kong to abide by its human rights commitments and restore its international standing. Many reflect long outstanding recommendations by the United Nations which the Hong Kong government has ignored,” Henderson said.
The groups called upon the government to adopt a comprehensive human rights ordinance to incorporate all international human rights treaties that apply to Hong Kong in domestic legislation. It should also amend the Public Order Ordinance – including sections on disorder in public places and unlawful assembly – to ensure it is in line with international regulations.
They said the government should only propose the national security law after universal suffrage has been fully implemented, to ensure it fully complies with international standards.
Repression of rights defenders, journalists, and opposition in Egypt has reached levels not seen in decades – from legislation effectively banning NGOs, to enforced disappearances, long-term arbitrary detention, and extrajudicial killings.
But the authoritarianism of President Sisi is perhaps best defined by widespread and systematic torture, inflicted upon dissidents with complete impunity. Human Rights Watch’s report this month reveals a torture assembly line in police stations and National Security Agency sites.
Former detainees told us a typical interrogation session begins with security officers shocking a blindfolded, stripped, and handcuffed suspect with an electric stun gun in sensitive places while slapping or beating them with sticks and metal bars. If dissatisfied with the answers, officers increase the duration of electric shocks. Officers then force detainees into stress positions, beating and shocking them while they are hanging in excruciating pain.
One former detainee said officers repeatedly raped him with a stick; another said they pulled out one of his fingernails. A detained lawyer said they wrapped a wire around his penis and shocked him. Three former detainees said officers threatened to torture their family if they did not confess.
In nearly every case, torture served as prelude to prosecution. Almost all detainees said they told prosecutors about their torture but saw no investigation into their allegations.
Egypt’s torture epidemic is systematic and widespread, and likely constitutes a crime against humanity. In the face of these violations, the Council’s utter silence is jarring, an insult to victims of egregious abuse. Time is long overdue for the Council to press Egypt to end its frontal assault on human rights.
Published on HRW on September 20, 2017.
Human Rights Council decides to dispatch a fact-finding mission to Myanmar to establish facts on violations, especially in Rakhine State
Council Adopts 13 Resolutions, Extends Mandates on Iran, Myanmar, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, South Sudan, Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Torture and Migrants.
The Human Rights Council this morning adopted 13 resolutions, in which it decided to dispatch an independent, international fact-finding mission to establish the facts about alleged recent human rights violations by military and security forces and abuses in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine State. The Council also extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights in Iran, Myanmar, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and South Sudan for a further period of one year, and extended the mandates of the Special Rapporteurs on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and on the human rights of migrants for a period of three years.
Other resolutions concerned human rights and unilateral coercive measures, the right to work, birth registration, the rights of the child, regional arrangements for the promotion of human rights, and human rights and the environment.
The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran for a further period of one year in a resolution on the situation of human rights in Iran, adopted by a vote of 22 in favour, 12 against and 13 abstentions. It requested the Special Rapporteur to submit a report on the implementation of the mandate to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-seventh session and to the General Assembly at its seventy-second session. It called upon the Government of Iran to cooperate fully with the Special Rapporteur and to permit access to visit the country, and to provide all information necessary to allow the fulfilment of the mandate.
In a resolution on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, adopted without a vote, the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar for a further period of one year. It also decided to dispatch urgently an independent international fact-finding mission to be appointed by the President of the Human Rights Council to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged recent human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine State. It called upon the Government of Myanmar to continue efforts to eliminate statelessness and the systematic and institutionalized discrimination against members of ethnic, and religious minorities, including the root causes of discrimination, in particular relating to the Rohingya minority.
The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur of the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea for a period of one year in a resolution on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, adopted without a vote. The Council decided to strengthen, for a period of two years, the capacity of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, including its field-based structure in Seoul, to allow the implementation of relevant recommendations made by the group of independent experts on accountability in its report. It condemned in the strongest terms the long-standing and ongoing systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations and other human rights abuses committed in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
In a resolution on the situation of human rights in South Sudan, adopted without a vote, the Council decided to extend the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan for a period of one year. It condemned the ongoing violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law in South Sudan, and it demanded that all actors put a halt to all violations and abuses of human rights and all violations of international humanitarian law. It also urged the Government of South Sudan to appoint a special representative on sexual and gender-based violence.
In a resolution on human rights of migrants: mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council decided to extend for a period of three years the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants to examine ways and means to overcome the obstacles existing to the full and effective protection of the human rights of migrants, recognizing the particular vulnerability of women, children and those undocumented or in an irregular situation. The Council also extended mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression for a period of three years, in a resolution adopted without a vote. It requested the Special Rapporteur to submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly covering all activities relating to the mandate.
In a resolution on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: mandate of the Special Rapporteur, adopted without a vote, the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment for a further period of three years to receive, examine and act on information from Governments, intergovernmental and civil society organizations, individuals and groups of individuals regarding issues and alleged cases concerning torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to conduct country visits.
The Council also adopted a resolution on human rights and unilateral coercive measures, adopted by a vote of 32 in favour, 15 against and zero abstentions, in which it called upon all States to stop adopting, maintaining or implementing unilateral coercive measures not in accordance with international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter of the United Nations and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States.
The Council called upon States to put in place comprehensive policies and to take the legislative and administrative measures necessary for the full realization of the right to work for all, including women, in a resolution on the right to work, adopted without a vote. In a resolution on birth registration and the right of everyone to recognition everywhere as a person before the law, adopted without a vote, the Council called upon States to establish or strengthen existing institutions at all levels responsible for birth registration and consider the development of comprehensive civil registration systems.
In a resolution on the rights of the child: protection of the rights of the child in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council called upon States to promote, protect, respect and fulfil the rights of the child and to mainstream them into all legislation, policies, programmes and budgets, as appropriate, aimed at implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
This press release was published on the OHCHR's website on March 24, 2017.