Updated: Jul 26
This week's blog is authored by Chloe Cheung, Founder of Hongkongers in Leeds and Director of Hong Kong Community Focus CIC.
Stepping into the United Nations headquarters in Geneva was a surreal and empowering experience for the Hong Kongers who attended. As passionate advocates for human rights in Hong Kong, we set out on a journey to attend a Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) session, determined to call for global solidarity in the fight for freedom in Hong Kong.
Prior to travelling to Geneva, we sent a submission to the CEDAW on how the implementation of the National Security Law has had a detrimental impact on women's rights in Hong Kong. We examined the issues that women in Hong Kong face under the National Security Law including their discriminatory treatment during pretrial custody and unfair treatment upon their release. These are clear violations of international human rights standards. With our submission in hand, we felt a sense of responsibility to represent the voices of those who are silenced and raise awareness of the urgent need for international intervention.
Our participation in the CEDAW meeting not only allowed us to bring attention to the challenges faced by women in Hong Kong but also enabled us to forge alliances and foster global solidarity with fellow advocates for human rights, including those who fight for the rights of the Uyghurs and Tibetans. It was a great honor to collaborate with organizations such as the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation and Hong Kong Watch, who share our commitment to promoting and defending human rights in Hong Kong. We stood united, demanding justice for the people of Hong Kong.
During the CEDAW meeting, the statement on Hong Kong delivered by the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation highlighted the dire impact of the National Security Law on women's rights, emphasising the unjust treatment of female activists who have been targeted and unjustly detained. Unsurprisingly, we faced pushback from pro-Chinese government representatives who sought to downplay the reality of the situation in Hong Kong. The day after the meeting, the Hong Kong government issued a press release asserting that “some Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), many of which are not based in Hong Kong, have made submissions to the Committee that are highly politically charged. Many of the statements in these submissions are based on false information and distorted narratives regardless of the truth, with flawed comments on the human rights situation in Hong Kong.” This does not instill fear in us; instead, it strengthens our confidence in our actions to speak the truth.
The Hong Kong government's press release reinforces the importance of our work. We view opposition from our enemies as confirmation of the correctness of our cause. Despite their attempts to discredit us, we stand firm in our commitment to shedding light on the human rights situation in Hong Kong. And we will not be silenced. We will continue to speak out with unwavering determination.
The fight for human rights in Hong Kong is far from over. We will persist in our efforts to raise awareness, speak out against injustice and stand in solidarity with Hong Kongers worldwide.