China’s move to impose National Security Law on Hong Kong condemned by IBA and IBAHRI

Thursday 18 June 2020


In a joint statement the International Bar Association and the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemn China’s proposed new national security legislation for Hong Kong.


We are concerned by the resolution currently before China’s legislature, which, if passed, will lead to the drafting of a new national security law for Hong Kong. The introduction of such law would violate the ‘one country, two systems’ principle enshrined in Hong Kong’s Basic Law and undermine the autonomy of Hong Kong. We condemn the potential infringements.

We are concerned that the proposed legislation will be used as a further means to restrict the rights of peaceful protestors, in a similar way to the Public Order Ordinance, and that the freedoms of prominent human rights defenders, such as Martin Lee and Margaret Ng, will be curtailed. This would be a direct contravention of obligations to uphold rights under the Basic Law and International Human Rights Law, including Article 27 of the Basic Law which grants Hong Kong residents the ‘freedom of speech, of the press and of publication; freedom of association and of demonstration’.

We are concerned that the central and city government security agencies will establish a presence in Hong Kong under the guise of national security, and that Hong Kong’s foreign judges, who sit on the Court of Final Appeal to ensure international standards are met, will no longer be allowed to adjudicate on cases of national security. This threat to judicial independence is unconscionable.

For the above reasons, we, the undersigned, condemn China’s proposed National Security Law for Hong Kong, and recommend the National People’s Congress review and repeal this proposed legislation.

Horacio Bernardes Neto
President, International Bar Association

Dr Mark Ellis
Executive Director, International Bar Association

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC
Director, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute


Notes to the Editor

  1. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.
  2. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.

For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
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International Bar Association
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IBA website page link for this news release:
Short link: tinyurl.com/ydb7gabs

Link for direct download of the PDF of the joint statement:
Short link: tinyurl.com/ydabaeas