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hong kong: Amnesty International will close its offices in Hong Kong this year

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Amnesty International said Monday it would close its two offices in Hong Kong this year, becoming the last non-governmental organization to cease its operations amid a crackdown on political disputes in the city.

The human rights group said its local office in Hong Kong will close this month while its regional office will close by the end of the year, with regional operations relocating to other offices in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This decision, taken with a heavy heart, is driven by Hong Kong national security law, which has made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious retribution. by the government, “said Anjhula Mya Singh Bais, Amnesty ‘s board chair.

Hong Kong enacted a comprehensive national security law in 2020, after months of massive anti-government protests. The law outlaws the separation, overthrow of state power, terrorism and foreign cooperation to interfere in the affairs of the city. More than 120 people, many of them supporters of the city’s democratic movement, have been arrested under the law.

Most prominent pro-democracy activists in the city are behind bars for attending unauthorized assemblies, and dozens of political organizations and unions have been shut down due to concerns about the personal safety of their members under security law.

Bais said the recent targeting of human rights and trade union groups signaled authorities were intensifying their campaign to rid the city of dissenting voices. “Increasingly it is increasingly difficult for us to continue to operate in such an unstable environment,” she said.

Critics in Hong Kong say the national security law is an erosion of freedoms, such as those of expression and assembly, that were promised to the city for 50 years when the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.

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