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Student Akihisa Hirano defends her Master”s Degree Final Project (TFM) about Hong Kong”s Human Rights defenders

Akihisa Hirano

Human rights’ violations in China have been getting more attention for the past years worldwide such as the case of the political oppression against the protesters in Hong Kong or cultural genocide and forced labour and concentration camps for the Uyghur or the political oppression against the religious group of Falungong, back in 90’s the racial oppression against the Tibet people.

2 september 2021

Title: “Human Rights Defenders in Hong Kong, Limitations of International Human Rights Law and the Post National Security Era”

Author: Akihisa Hirano

Meanwhile, China achieved the remarkable economic growth, whose political measures focused on guaranteeing the right to the development to escape from the poverty as a priority. This phenomenon is unprecedented in that the second economically largest State is one of the biggest human rights’ violators.

In the case of Hong Kong, even though there have been lots of protests against the Hong Kongnese and the Chinese government along with naming and shaming them by international organizations for a lengthy time, the situation has been getting worse. Especially, the human rights defenders have been targeted and prosecuted in an arbitrary manner. Eventually, the national security law was established on 30 June 2020. Under the national security law, the activities of the human rights defenders are very limited so that they only could depend on the foreign aids and collaborations and international human rights law.

International human rights law, which is derived from the universal declaration of human rights, is a revolutionary idea to be able to cross over jurisdiction to save a foreign illegitimate. On the other hand, a sovereignty of states is rooted to be respected to circumvent warfare or political and armed conflicts between states. International human rights law is a double-edged sword, inherently holding ideologically paradoxical character, which might cause warfare with its intervention but also has a moral character to rescue citizens in alien States.

Our fundamental question is why the violations on the human rights defenders continue and the international community cannot take any substantive action on this issue with international human rights law. Subsequently, the objective of this paper is to analyze why international human rights law framework functions in some regions but does not in the case of human rights defenders in Hong Kong against China. To answer these questions, the paper is composed of the analysis on international human rights law’s history, the comparative analysis on the legal mechanism of human rights defenders by region, the legal analysis on the national security law and the legal strategy of China and the analysis on the limitations of international human rights law.