HK bars head of Human Rights Watch, blocking release of report

Local | 13 Jan 2020 9:23 am

The global head of Human Rights Watch says he has been denied entry to Hong Kong, where he was scheduled to launch the organization’s latest world report this week.

Kenneth Roth, the group’s executive director, said that yesterday he was blocked at Hong Kong International Airport from entering for the first time, having entered freely in the past.

“This year (the new world report) describes how the Chinese government is undermining the international human rights system. But the authorities just blocked my entrance to Hong Kong, illustrating the worsening problem,” Roth said in a post on his Twitter account.

He added that Hong Kong immigration officials had cited only “immigration reasons”.

He later tweeted: "Given that the authorities blocked me from entering Hong Kong to release @HRW's World Report (which this year tellingly highlights Beijing's assault on the intern'l human rights system), I have returned to New York and will release it at the UN on Tuesday.''

The Hong Kong government had no immediate response to Reuters’ questions about why Roth was denied entry.

Human Rights Watch, based in New York, had been scheduled to release its 652-page World Report 2020 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

“This disappointing action is yet another sign that Beijing is tightening its oppressive grip on Hong Kong and further restricting the limited freedom Hong Kong people enjoy under ‘one country, two systems’,” Roth said in the organisation’s statement.

Human Rights Watch said a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs official had threatened to impose unspecified sanctions against it and several US-based pro-democracy organisations in early December. Neither Beijing nor Hong Kong authorities have since provided further details, it added.-Reuters/The Standard


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