Estonia joins 27 countries to express concern over human rights in China ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu at the United Nations.
Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu at the United Nations. Source: Välisministeerium

At the 44th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Estonia along with 27 other countries made a joint statement to express concern over China's recent actions on Hong Kong.

The statement says that the national security legislation undermines the 'One Country, Two Systems' principle and has clear implications for the human rights of people in Hong Kong.

Estonia and the signatories also expressed concern over the human rights of Uyghurs and urged China to allow the High Commissioner meaningful access to Xinjiang.

The statement also encouraged the High Commissioner to provide regular information on the human rights situation in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms, which are guaranteed under international law.

The statement is signed by 28 countries, including 15 European Union member states (in addition to Estonia, they include France, Germany, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Belgium, Sweden, Luxembourg, Finland, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Slovakia and Slovenia).

The joint statement was read on Tuesday 30 June on behalf of the 28 countries by a representative of the United Kingdom.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) also took to Twitter to voice his support.

The full statement is published below:

Thank you Madam President. I am delivering this cross-regional joint statement on behalf of 27 countries.

A number of the signatories to this statement submitted a letter last year to express concern about arbitrary detention, widespread surveillance and restrictions, particularly targeting Uyghurs and other minorities in Xinjiang. These deep concerns have been reinforced by additional information now in the public domain. We urge China to allow the High Commissioner meaningful access to Xinjiang at the earliest opportunity.

We further wish to raise our deep and growing concerns at the imposition of legislation related to national security on Hong Kong, with clear implications for the human rights of people in Hong Kong.

The Joint Declaration, a legally binding treaty, registered with the United Nations, sets out that Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy and rights and freedoms, including those of the person, of the press, of assembly, and of association and that the ICCPR and ICESCR shall remain in force. These rights are also guaranteed in the basic law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Making such a law without the direct participation of Hong Kong's people, legislature or judiciary of Hong Kong undermines 'One Country, Two Systems'.

We urge the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments to reconsider the imposition of this legislation and to engage Hong Kong's people, institutions and judiciary to prevent further erosion of the rights and freedoms that the people of Hong Kong have enjoyed for many years.

High Commissioner, we note your calls for legislation to respect human rights obligations relating to Hong Kong, and the serious concerns raised by the mechanisms of this council. We encourage you to provide regular information on the human rights situation in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, in order to safeguard the rights and freedoms which are guaranteed under international law.

Thank you

This statement was supported by Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Iceland, Ireland, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom

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Editor: Helen Wright

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