The Democratic Party has sent a delegation to Geneva to relay to the United Nations that Hong Kong will not be able to implement Universal Suffrage by 2017. The delegation consists of Chair Emily Lau, Vice-Chairman Lo Kin-Hei, and Josephine Chan, member of the Party Standing Committee. They will attend two conferences on the 23rd. Emily Lau told Harbour Times she plans to report the current struggle for universal suffrage in Hong Kong to committee members, “We will mainly explain to the UN why the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s decision is not feasible, and that we will request a new framework be announced.” She would like to urge the UN Human Rights Committee to review Hong Kong’s 2017 Chief Executive electoral system, and to indicate that the NPCSC’s decision indeed violates Article 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that elections must be “universal and equal”.
The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women will hold a hearing to examine the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in Hong Kong, Macau, and mainland China. During the Umbrella Movement, many reports indicated that certain female protesters were sexually assaulted or harassed. The Democratic Party believes the local police did not do its best to ensure women’s freedom of expression and fundamental human rights, and will relay their concern to the UN. The Commission on Human Rights will also hold a conference on each countries’ compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the same day.
Emily mentioned that the United Nations held discussion with regards to universal suffrage in Hong Kong in March, and the delegation will inform members of the latest situation, “The focus of the conference is not on Hong Kong, but there are arrangements to follow up on the previous reports on the agenda. In fact, the Human Rights the Committee had discussed Hong Kong”s situation in March last year. The Commission put forward a proposal urging the Government to implement universal suffrage as soon as possible, and also asked it to provide a report on Hong Kong’s political reform in writing within a year. The Government then put in the report in March this year. Much has happened up till now in October, and we intend to explain the newest developments and hope they will follow up.” Lau said she will inform committee members that the NPCSC’s framework is not feasible, and that the current movement where demonstrators have occupied main streets in Admiralty, Causeway Bay, and Mong Kok is a result of that. As to whether she is confident in making the UN Commission pay attention to the developments and put further pressure on the Hong Kong Government, Lau said they can only try their best and they do not know what reaction to expect, “The members are all independent experts, I can only hope they understand Hong Kong. What they choose to express or not express in public is their freedom, and we will respect that.” However, Lau did say, given the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has spoken on the Occupy movement, and the extensive coverage by the foreign press, she hopes the members will have some understanding on the current situation in Hong Kong.
In addition, the 23 pan-democrats from the Legislative Council jointly signed a statement yesterday, strongly condemning the Government for inviting dialogue on one hand, and clearing Occupy areas on the other. They believe the actions has further divided society, severely worsening the conflict between the occupiers and frontline officers and among citizens. Legislators also strongly appealed to both police and citizens to exercise restraint, for occupiers to adhere to the original intent for peaceful protests, and for the police to keep in mind that protecting citizens is their responsibility.