chevron-down Created with Sketch Beta.
July 17, 2023

Statement of ABA President Deborah Enix-Ross Re: Arrest warrants and bounties on Hong Kong lawyers

WASHINGTON, July 17, 2023 — The American Bar Association remains strongly opposed to the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL) and the threat it poses to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

In the latest application of this law, Hong Kong police accused eight self-exiled pro-democracy activists living overseas, including lawyers Kevin Yam and Dennis Kwok, of violating the law and offered rewards of 1 million Hong Kong dollars ($127,600) each for information leading to their arrests. These individuals are vocal supporters of democracy, rule of law and judicial independence in Hong Kong.

Targeting people for exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and free speech runs counter to Hong Kong’s obligations as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Peacefully voicing dissent does not rise to the level of a national security threat. The extraterritorial application of the NSL in this manner is a dangerous precedent.

The ABA calls on Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China to fulfill their obligations under both domestic and international law and withdraw these bounties and arrest warrants.

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.