UN 2020 documents: Right of Peaceful Assembly; Guidance on Less-lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their minions the Hong Kong (HK) government have proven time and again that they are unable and / or unwilling to act according to their obligations under international and domestic treaties, laws, policies and practices.
Leading democracies are trying to engage CCP on behalf of the people of the world - including China's own citizens. CCP's action does not stop leading democracies from trying to engage and getting CCP and HK back on track to meeting their international obligations.
Faced with CCP's breach of the Joint Declaration, HK's 'independent' judiciary needs to be 'counter-interventionist' if it is to ensure the continuance of HK's rule OF law!
These two UN publications in 2020 support the needs of HK protesters in their desire for peaceful non-violent protests. We hope that CCP and the HK government, including the judiciary and police, honour their obligations in reference to these documents and do them proper justice!
UN Human Rights Committee General Comment No. 37 on Article 21 (Right of Peaceful Assembly). Source. Or click file below:
UN 'Guidance on Less-lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement.' Source. Or click file below:
Don’t blame calm rally attendees for isolated acts of violence: UN rights expert
Apple Daily 18 December 2020 (format added)
Organizers and participants of peaceful rallies should not have to bear the responsibility for random acts of violence committed by other people, a human rights expert of the United Nations has said [in General Comment 37].
Any person could exercise the right to peaceful assembly, regardless of the location or format of the activity, be it a protest march, silent sit-in or candlelight vigil,...
...Professor of human rights law Christof Heyns said during an online forum which took place on Wednesday night Hong Kong time.
That right was protected under Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, he said, adding that it was impossible to regard unauthorised assembly as a criminal offense.
Isolated acts of violence would not suffice to taint the entire assembly as non-peaceful, unless the acts were manifestly widespread within the gathering, he added.
Heyns was speaking in his capacity as a member of the UN Human Rights Committee and the lead author of the committee’s General Comment No. 37, which provided legal guidance that defined assemblies and outlined governments’ obligations in facilitating peaceful rallies.
The General Comment was one of two documents issued by the UN this year to set out the legal frameworks and policing standards that would allow individuals to express their views at public gatherings.
It specified restrictions to limit the power of law enforcers to stop and search participants of an orderly rally. That authority must be exercised based on a reasonable suspicion about the threat of a serious offense, and should not merely rely on officials’ association of an individual with a peaceful event.
Those who were found to be carrying protective gas masks or helmets should not be treated as intending to commit violence, the document added, stressing a need for authorities to act on a case-by-case basis.
A human rights advocate said that the cases of Hong Kong democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow, who were jailed after they pleaded guilty to inciting other people to join an unauthorised assembly, in fact did not involve violence.
Their [Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow] prosecution reflected how the definition of freedom of assembly in Hong Kong was contradictory to international standards and to details laid out in the General Comment,...
...Hong Kong Human Rights Watch spokesperson Claudia Yip told Apple Daily on Thursday.
Yip said that during the consultation stage of drafting the General Comment, non-governmental organizations in Hong Kong submitted reports to the UN and met with Heyns to discuss the authorities’ suppression of peaceful assembly locally.
Although the UN document was not designed to talk about the Hong Kong situation, many of the details contained within were similar to what was happening in the city, she said.
The other UN document, the Guidance on Less-lethal Weapons in Law Enforcement, provided guidelines on the use of force in compliance with international human rights law.
Standards were set for each less-lethal weapon, including the use of tear gas. Any irritant projectiles should not be aimed at individuals or be deployed in a confined space, the document stated.
Human Rights Watch had filed a complaint to the UN over the Hong Kong police’s allegedly excessive use of chemical weapons, citing the less-lethal weapons document, Yip said. UN experts agreed that it was harmful to humans and were seeking a response from the city’s government, she said.
Click here for Chinese version
Apple Daily 17 December 2020 'UN dismayed by China’s continued crackdown on human rights lawyers'