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London/UNI/Sputnik: Amnesty International announced on Monday that it would close its two offices in Hong Kong by the end of 2021 after 40 years of working there and will move operations to the organization's other missions in the Asia-Pacific region.
"Amnesty International will close its two offices in Hong Kong by the end of the year ... The local ‘section’ office will cease operations on 31 October while the regional office – which is part of Amnesty’s global International Secretariat – is due to close by the end of 2021. Regional operations will be moved to the organization’s other offices in the Asia-Pacific," the rights group said in a statement.
The organization says it took the step, as it believes that the autonomous region's national security law "made it effectively impossible for human rights organizations in Hong Kong to work freely and without fear of serious reprisals from the government," the statement read.
"Hong Kong has long been an ideal regional base for international civil society organizations, but the recent targeting of local human rights and trade union groups signals an intensification of the authorities’ campaign to rid the city of all dissenting voices. It is increasingly difficult for us to keep operating in such an unstable environment," the group said.
The Amnesty International added it had reported "the rapid deterioration" of human rights record in Hong Kong since the law was adopted in 2020, saying the law has repeatedly been used to target activists, opposition politicians and independent media. At least 35 groups have disbanded since the law was enacted, it added.
Mainland China-sponsored law was adopted in response to massive pro-democracy protests that swept across Hong Kong the previous year.
It adjusts security policies in Hong Kong to Beijing's perception of crime and punishment with regard to separatism, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign countries.
The critics of the law in the Chinese special administrative region and abroad fear that it might limit Hong Kong's exclusive rights and freedoms.
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