Irish Examiner

Hong Kong authoritie­s tolerated the abuse of humanitari­an workers, claim UK MPs

- Sophie Morris

Hong Kong authoritie­s tolerated the abuse of humanitari­an and medical workers in the territory during the 2019 protests, a UK parliament­ary inquiry has found.

An inquiry launched by the All-Party Parliament­ary Group (APPG) on Hong Kong into possible human rights abuses against humanitari­an workers found that Hong Kong failed to meet the required standard of protection for workers, as guaranteed by internatio­nal law and the Sino-British Joint Declaratio­n, and thereby tolerated their abuse.

The inquiry recommends the UK should urgently impose Magnitsky-style sanctions on those responsibl­e for permitting the excessive police violence at high level in the administra­tion — including, but not limited to, chief executive Carrie Lam and the commission­er of police.

The APPG came to this conclusion having read through 1,000 submission­s of evidence and interviewe­d several key witnesses of human rights abuses, including medical profession­als, a journalist, humanitari­an workers, academics and a former Hong Kong police officer.

Other recommenda­tions include the UK to lead efforts to establish an independen­t mechanism to investigat­e the situation in Hong Kong, to engage in a dialogue with the city’s authoritie­s to assist the UN inquiries on the issue and to ensure that its bold and encouragin­g BN (O) citizenshi­p immigratio­n policies are not applicable to those who have encouraged or endorsed the national security law or supported or condoned police violence.

Last month, the UK government announced it would be giving up to three million Hong Kong residents the chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenshi­p following the imposition of a new security law in Hong Kong.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson said Hong Kong’s freedoms were being violated by the new law and that the government would offer those affected a “route” out of the former UK colony.

Chairwoman of the APPG on Hong Kong and Green Party peer Natalie Bennett said the evidence shows the Hong Kong administra­tion “failed to meet the required standard for the protection of these vital workers”.

Ms Bennett said: “The United Kingdom has a unique legal, moral and historical duty towards the people of Hong Kong.

“When the UK handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997, we also handed over the people of Hong Kong.

“We expected China to honour its word and legal duty to ensure those people were able to develop democratic structures and systems.

“We also expected that Hongkonger­s would be protected by the internatio­nal principles of respect for human rights, and that Hongkonger­s would be both free and free from harm.

“We were struck by the words of a courageous young doctor who told us that ‘in the future they will come crashing through my door, arrest me and I will just disappear’.”

 ??  ?? Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has been criticised.
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has been criticised.

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