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Sunday, 26 October 2014





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Hong Kong protests:

UN human rights committee calls for open elections

25 Oct

The United Nations Human Rights Committee is putting pressure on China to ensure the people of Hong Kong are given the right to elect their own leader without Beijing's interference.

At a meeting in Geneva, a panel of 18 independent experts, who monitor compliance with an international treaty on civil and political rights, voiced concern at Beijing's plan to vet candidates in the former British colony.

The committee agreed on “the need to ensure universal suffrage, which means both the right to be elected as well as the right to vote,” said Konstantine Vardzelashvili, who chaired the session.

Christine Chanet, a French judge and panel member, said the committee agreed that candidates should be be filtered.”The problem is that Beijing wants to vet candidates. We have now put some pressure, but not too heavily, as we absolutely need China's cooperation,” she said.

Emily Lau, a member of the Legislative Council of Hong Kong and chair of the Democratic Party of Hong Kong who attended the Geneva session, welcomed the UN watchdog's stance.”One person, one vote, but the problem is the people who will stand is very limited,” she said.The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a landmark treaty adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1966, was signed by China in 1998 but never ratified.The pact guarantees fundamental freedoms including the right to self-determination and free and regular elections.

“The committee was clear that what is proposed by China is not compliant with the Covenant, it is not universal suffrage,” Ms Lau said.

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong protesting against China's plan to allow only Beijing loyalists to stand in 2017 elections in a which a new leader will be elected for the former British territory.Talks between student leaders and senior officials on Tuesday failed to break a deadlock and the protests have continued.


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