UN Human Rights Council 43 Item 8 General Debate

Thank you Madam President

The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action stresses the importance of strengthening the rule of law, freedom of expression, the administration of justice and the real and effective participation of the people in decision-making processes.

It further emphasises that democracy is based on the freely expressed will of the people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems and their full participation in all aspects of their lives.

The UK is deeply concerned by China’s plan to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong, which would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and could threaten its rights and freedoms.

The imposition of the proposed law lies in direct conflict with China’s international obligations under the Joint Declaration, a treaty agreed by the UK and China and registered with the United Nations. The Joint Declaration provides that rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of the press, of assembly, of association and others, will be ensured by law in Hong Kong, and that the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights shall remain in force.

We urge China to engage with Hong Kong’s people, institutions, and judiciary to ensure it maintains Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms.

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