Hong Kong security law must protect basic freedoms: UN rights chief

Michelle Bachelet's office remains "engaged" with China.
Michelle Bachelet's office remains "engaged" with China.PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (REUTERS) - Any new national security laws imposed on Hong Kong "must fully comply with China's human rights obligations" and international treaties protecting civil and political freedoms, the top UN human rights official said on Friday (June 19).

The draft legislation specifies the definition of four crimes and sets out punishments: separatist activity, state subversion, terrorist activity, and collusion with foreign forces, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Thursday.

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said in a statement: "Any law on national security should be clear in scope and definition, and only permit restrictions to human rights that are strictly necessary and proportionate.

There should be meaningful legislative and judicial oversight of the implementation of such legislation." Her office remains "engaged" with China on this matter and will continue to monitor the situation closely, she said.