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Publication

Joint observations on the human rights implications of Hong Kong's Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019

June 14, 2019 - extradition, rule of law
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The Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales, the Law Society of England & Wales, the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute, the Defence Extradition Lawyer’s Forum, the International Forum of Extradition Specialists, and Fair Trials have co-authored observations on the human rights implications of Hong Kong’s Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019.

The observations come as a result of significant concern, both in Hong Kong and internationally, about the proposed amendments and the comparison being drawn between the amendments and other extradition laws internationally, particularly those in the United Kingdom, a comparison which the organisations consider to be a fundamental fallacy.

The observations state that the proposed amendments fail to adequately protect human rights and “fundamentally imperil the operation of the rule of law” because “insofar as the proposals would introduce any human rights examination at all, they are vested in Hong Kong’s Chief Executive whom, in view of her function and the nature of  her appointment, would lack or appear to lack the necessary impartiality and independence to adjudicate such issues.”

The signatories call upon the government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to place these weighty and substantial human rights concerns squarely at the forefront of its consideration of the proposed extradition laws, and for the immediate suspension of these ill-conceived proposals, pending (at a minimum) radical overhaul of Hong Kong’s existing extradition laws.

Read the full observation report here.

 

On 21 June 2019, the Hong Kong Bar Association published a formal statement, citing the joint observation, calling for the Government to “withdraw the Bill and make a commitment that it will not introduce any legislation on the question of surrender of fugitives and cross-border legal assistance without full and open consultation involving the Hong Kong public and others who have an interest in the subject matter.”

If you are a journalist interested in this story, please telephone Fair Trials’ press department on +44 (0) 20 7822 2370 or +32 (0) 2 360 04 71.

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