UN human rights office voices concerns over police probe of rally organizer


The United Nations human rights office has expressed concerns about police investigation of the Civil Human Rights Front, a long-standing pro-democracy rally organizer in Hong Kong

Suspecting the CHRF of violating the Societies Ordinance, the authorities have requested information from the group and demanded an explanation on its involvement in a joint petition to Michelle Bachelet Jeria, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, last year.

The CHRF was among the 26 groups that signed the petition in December, urging the High Commissioner to investigate allegations of torture and pressure the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities to end human rights abuses.

In response to an Apple Daily enquiry, Rupert Colville, spokesperson of the High Commissioner’s office, expressed concerns that the group is being probed for communicating with the U.N.

The investigation came amid “an ongoing clampdown on civic and democratic space” as a result of the national security law, he noted.

“Freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of expression are fundamental pillars of an open and participative society and must be protected by law in compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that applies to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region,” said Colville.

Colville also reminded the Hong Kong authorities that all individuals and groups should have “safe and unhindered access to, and communication with, the United Nations and its human rights mechanisms.”

“It is incumbent on the authorities to ensure that individuals and groups are not subjected to reprisals for their cooperation or attempted cooperation with the U.N.,” he wrote.

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