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Hong Kong: Government Should Postpone Vote on Extradition Amendments
Freedom House sent a letter to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam urging her government to postpone a vote on amendments to two ordinances related to extradition, currently scheduled for April 3, and to extend the period for public consultation to resolve any loopholes in existing legislation.
“We remain extremely concerned over the lack of human rights safeguards in the current draft and the potential dangers it poses to Hong Kong residents,” wrote Freedom House President Michael Abramowitz in the letter. “The lack of rule of law and widespread abuse of prisoners in mainland China places any Hong Kong resident who is extradited to the mainland at serious risk. This risk is amplified in the case of journalists, political activists, religious believers, and critics of the Chinese Communist Party.”
The letter calls on the Hong Kong government to delay the vote to allow sufficient time for adequate consideration of alternative proposals that have been put forth by local civil society groups, legal professional organizations, and private sector actors.
“Freedom House has documented a decline in the protection of human rights, freedom of expression, and the rule of law in Hong Kong over the past decade,” wrote Abramowitz. “The decline has already harmed Hong Kong’s international reputation and ability to serve as a regional hub for civil society, media companies, and other businesses. Passage of the extradition amendments in their current form will accelerate this deterioration and its negative impact on the city.”
Hong Kong is rated Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2019.
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.