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Upset With Use of 'Unethical' Measures to Quell Hong Kong Protests, UN to Discuss China's Role at Key Meet

The United Nations' human rights chief has voiced concern over force used against the protesters in Hong Kong and called for an impartial probe.


Updated:August 15, 2019, 12:11 PM IST
Upset With Use of 'Unethical' Measures to Quell Hong Kong Protests, UN to Discuss China's Role at Key Meet
The United Nations' human rights chief has voiced concern over force used against the protesters in Hong Kong and called for an impartial probe.

The United Nations has decided to take up the ongoing pro-democracy protest movement in Hong Kong in a crucial meeting even as Beijing on Wednesday slammed the "terrorist-like" attacks on its citizens by protesters during a second day of chaos at the city's airport.

Sources said that UN is concerned about violations of human rights in Hong Kong. Use Of unethical measures such as pepper spray on protestors is the main cause of concern of the global organisation, the sources said.

The role of China would also be discussed by the UN in the meeting.

The rallies, which had paralysed one of the world's busiest travel hubs, ended with ugly clashes on Tuesday night that included protesters beating two men.

The Chinese government immediately seized on the attacks to intensify its drumbeat of anger and intimidation against the protesters, who have staged 10 weeks of relentless rallies to demand greater freedoms in the semi-autonomous city.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had urged Hong Kong on Tuesday to exercise restraint and investigate evidence of its forces firing tear gas at protesters in ways banned under international law.

“Hong Kong authorities should engage in meaningful dialogue with protesters to restore public security,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement, while welcoming chief executive Carrie Lam's remarks on her commitment to listen to grievances.

"Officials can be seen firing tear gas canisters into crowded, enclosed areas and directly at individual protesters on multiple occasions, creating a considerable risk of death or serious injury," Bachelet said.

Her office "urges the Hong Kong authorities to act with restraint, to ensure that the rights of those who are expressing their views peacefully are respected and protected, while ensuring that the response by law enforcement officials to any violence that may take place is proportionate," she said.

Her spokesman Rupert Colville conceded that security forces in the former British colony were sometimes in a difficult situation. "We are not saying it is easy, but nevertheless they have to avoid excesses, otherwise they can just make the situation worse," he said.

A state of "panic and chaos" exists in Hong Kong, Lam, the city's embattled leader, said on Tuesday, defying calls to quit as the stock market tumbled, airlines flagged flight disruptions and anti-government protesters filled the airport.

Colville said Bachelet's office was in contact with both Hong Kong and Chinese officials about the situation.

Asked about China's comments that "sprouts of terrorism" were emerging in Hong Kong, he said: "The use of strong rhetoric of the type you mentioned can only serve to inflame tensions and make an extremely volatile situation worse. There needs to be a genuine attempt by all sides towards a process of dialogue."

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