Press briefing on China/Hong Kong SAR
Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Rupert Colville
Date: 19 November 2019
Subject: China/Hong Kong SAR
China/Hong Kong SAR
We have been following with deepening concern the situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region over the past few months. We are gravely concerned about the increasing violence by groups of young people engaging in the protests who are clearly very angry, with deep-seated grievances.
The vast majority of the people of Hong Kong have been exercising their right of freedom of assembly peacefully and in accordance with the law – and the authorities have by and large respected the exercise of this right. The resort to extreme violence – including against the police force – by some engaged in the protests is therefore deeply regretted and cannot be condoned. We would appeal to all engaging in protests to renounce and condemn the use of violence.
With regard to the current situation at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, we urge the authorities to do all they can to de-escalate the situation, to address the humanitarian situation of those inside which is clearly deteriorating, and facilitate a peaceful resolution.
At this juncture, we are deeply concerned at the risk of further escalation of violence in Hong Kong. We therefore urge the Government to strengthen its efforts to bring together all sectors of society, including student groups, business community, political leaders, community leaders and others in a truly inclusive dialogue in order to find peaceful solutions to the grievances raised by a significant number of Hong Kong citizens.
Accountability for violence is also key – both in the case of individuals who have broken the law and committed acts of violence, but also in the case of allegations of excessive use of force by the police.
The UN Human Rights Office stands ready to advise and support constructive efforts by the Government of Hong Kong to resolve the crisis peacefully and through dialogue.