UN rights boss urges Hong Kong to uphold due process, fair trials

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet speaks during a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, December 9, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet voiced concern on Wednesday at the “rapidly shrinking” civil and democratic space in Hong Kong and urged judicial authorities to uphold the right to due process and fair trial.

Hong Kong police arrested eight more activists on Tuesday over an anti-government protest in July, the latest move by authorities in a crackdown on opposition forces in the Chinese-ruled, Asian financial hub.

“Recent convictions of activists for protests that took place last year risk causing a wider chilling effect on the exercise of fundamental freedoms,” Bachelet told a news conference in Geneva.

Bachelet also voiced concern at “a range of serious human rights violations” in China’s Xinjiang region and said she hoped that a team from her office could go to China in the first half of 2021 to prepare for her visit there, being discussed with Beijing.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Alex Richardson