International legal bodies have joined the global wave of protest at the new national security law imposed by China on Hong Kong from today. In a statement, the International Bar Association described the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region National Security Law as: 

  • Contrary to the norms of international law;
  • Incompatible with the rule of law and fundamental human rights; and
  • Inconsistent with the basic law of the Hong Kong region. 

It noted that the legislation has been enacted by the People’s Republic of China ’without meaningful engagement with the people of Hong Kong’. Meanwhile, legal experts have been unable to review the compatibility of the law with Hong Kong’s legal and constitutional framework, and China’s international legal obligations.

Among other concerns, the IBA said that the law gives the chief executive of Hong Kong the power to appoint former judges and magistrates to particular National Security Law cases. ’This is a sad and deeply worrying time for the people of Hong Kong SAR and for their friends across the globe,’ concluded the statement, which is signed by Horacio Bernardes Neto, IBA president and The Hon Michael Kirby, co-chair, International Bar Association Human Rights Institute.