Assad Regime Cuts Welfare to Fund Military Campaign against Rebels and Civilians

By Kathryn Maureen Ryan
Impunity Watch, Managing Editor

DAMASCUS, Syria – In response to increasing economic instability the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has scaled back on subsidies given to citizens for goods ranging from water to heating oil, necessary for surviving the cold Syrian winter, over the past six month. The Syrian people already suffer extreme economic hardship due to the county’s high unemployment rate, hovering at around 50%, crippling inflation and massive infrastructure damage and damage to industry suffered as a result of the country’s long civil war which is entering its fourth year. As Syria approaches the long winter months power outages and food shortages have worried across the country. Despite the continues splintering of rebel groups  and Syria as well as the efforts by the United States and coalition airstrikes to halt the spread of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in the region the Assad regimes feels the need to divert funding from Syria’s vulnerable poor populations in order to support its continued war efforts.

A man holds a baby saved from under rubble, who survived what activists say was an air strike by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in Masaken Hanano in Aleppo, in this Feb. 14, 2014. The Assad regime has recently cut welfare intended to provide vital resources to the Syrian poor in order to continue its campaign against the Syrian rebels, often targeting civilians the regime believes to be loyal to rebel groups. (Photo courtesy of Al Arabiya)

Other economic problems such as falling tax revenues, a collapse in the currency and rising bills for imports have also pushed the regime deeper into “survival mode,” said Riad Kahwaji, an analyst and chief executive of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf ­Military Analysis. Although the government’s budget figures are not made public, analysts say Damascus has had to shift priorities to pay for the war effort.

In response to its economic woes, which have hindered the regime’s ability to continue its brutal campaign against rebels and populations deemed to be sympathetic to rebel groups the Assad regime has slashed spending on social welfare, including cutting subsidies for water and electricity over the summer. Last month, the government began to cut funding for diesel and heating oil.

In a rare interview published by Paris Match, a French language magazine, on Thursday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed that he would remain in power, despite calls from the rebels on the ground in Syria as well as much of the international community for him to step down. He also asserted that the Syrian Civil war will be long and difficult because his army could not be everywhere at once, apparently an attempt to justify increased spending on the war effort at the expense of government welfare programs.

“The Syrian army cannot be everywhere at once. Where it is not present, terrorists take the opportunity to cross borders and infiltrate in one area or another,” said the French language magazine in comments apparently quoting the Syrian president.  “It is not about a war between two armies, where one occupies a territory and the other another one. It is another type of war. We are dealing with terrorist groups that infiltrate a town or village. So this war will be long and difficult,” it continued. The text was also published by Syrian state media on Thursday.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights the Syrian Civil War, which has created millions of refugees and internally displaced persons, has taken the lives of more than 200,000 people in its four year history.  “We have documented the killing of 202,354 people since March 2011,” Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

For more information please see:

Newsweek – Assad Says Syrian War Will Be “Long and Difficult” In Rare Interview – 4 December 2014

Foreign Policy – Assad Airstrikes Aren’t Helping Me; Hollande you’re As Popular as ISIS

Al Arabiya – Syria Death Toll Now Exceeds 200,000: Monitor – 2 December 2014

The Washington Post – Syria’s Assad Regime Cuts Subsidies, Focuses Ailing Economy on War Effort – 29 November 2014

Illegal Gold Mining Destroying Peruvian Rainforests

By Kathryn Maureen Ryan
Impunity Watch, Managing Editor

LIMA, Peru – Large shafts of Peru’s Amazonian rainforests are disappearing every day, turned from once pristine virgin rainforest ecosystems, home to countless animal and plant species, have been turned into fragmented forests and mercury poisoned wastelands. This devastating deforestation trend is driven by illegal gold mining operations in Peru, a practice dependent on the use of toxins like mercury, a neurotoxin used to bind gold found in natural deposits. The ruined wastelands scar the southeastern region of Madre de Dios, a region high in biodiversity whose unique natural environment attacks scientists interested in studying the area for its future pharmaceutical and scientific potential as well as eco-tourists whose visits help support the region’s economy. The practice of illegal mining is devastating to the local indigenous community, who live in voluntary isolation deep within the Amazonian forests.

This Nov. 11, 2014 aerial photo, shows a deforested area dotted with tarps, marking the area where illegal miners reside, and water-filled craters polluted with toxic levels of mercury dumped as a result of illegal gold mining, in La Pampa, in Peru’s Madre de Dios region. (Photo courtesey of U.S. News and World Report)

Over the past decade, mining has denuded 230 square miles (595 square kilometers) of forest in the Madre de Dios region, poisoning the critical watershed. A study released last year, led by the Carnegie Institution for Science, found that 76.5 percent of people in the region had mercury levels above acceptable limits. Illegal mining is the second largest cause of deforestation in Peru, behind clear-cutting for agricultural development, Environmental Minister Manuel Pulgar-Vidal said. “It is terrible for the nearly irremediable wounds it causes to the forest,” he said.

Rainforests serve as large scale natural carbon seeks, absorbing and holding atmospheric carbon dioxide, which make these ecosystem’s important natural mitigation tool for global climate change. Peru is home to the second-largest area of the Amazonian rainforest, after Brazil. According to the findings of new research conducted by the Carnegie Institute for Science (CIS) the Peruvian rainforests stores nearly seven billion metric tons of carbon stocks, mostly in its Amazon rainforest which is higher than The United States’ annual carbon emissions for 2013 which were calculated at 5.38 billion tons. However, according to Greg Asner, the project “found that nearly a billion metric tons of above-ground carbon stocks in Peru are at imminent risk of emission into the atmosphere due to land uses such as fossil fuel oil exploration, cattle ranching, oil palm plantations and gold mining.”

Deforestation and land conversion account for about 40 percent of Peru’s greenhouse gas emissions. The Peruvian government has vowed to halt deforestation by 2021, and Norwegian in September pledged $300 million toward that goal. However, Peru’s stewardship and conservation efforts have come under scrutiny by environmentalists as deforestation appears to be on the rise in the country. Despite the government’s crackdown on illegal minge smuggling has continued to proliferate in the country as smugglers move to bring illegal gold across the border into Bolivia for export to the United States.

The United Nations will host the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties e to the Kyoto Protocol to United Nations Convention on Climate Change will be held from December 1 to 12 December and is being hosted by the Government of Peru, in Lima.

For more information please see:

U.S. News and World Report – Scarred, poisoned wasteland highlights Peru’s challenges in halting deforestation – 2 December 2014

Reuters – FEATURE-Peru crackdown on illegal gold leads to new smuggling routes – 25 November 2014

The Guardian – Peru’s forests store more CO2 than US emits in a year, research shows – 7 November 2014

The United Nations Convention on Climate Change – Lima Climate Change Conference – December 2014 – December 2014

Controversy of Israeli “Jewish State” Bill

By Max Bartels 

Impunity Watch Reporter, The Middle East 


Jerusalem, Israel

Israel is in the midst of passing legislation known as the “Jewish State” bill, a bill that would effectively enshrine Jewish law in the Basic law (Constitution) of the nation. This is significant for several reasons; first, the basic premise of the law puts Jewish law and Jewish rights before democracy. Jewish law would become the basis of the Israeli legal system, while it affirms the personal rights of all citizens, but according to the law communal rights are reserved only for Jewish citizens. The Arab minority in Israel, which accounts for about 20% of the population, would have rights as individuals but not national rights.  The Arab minority is afraid that they will be framed as second-class citizens in a nation that is meant for Jews. The proposed laws effect has caused a great deal of controversy and it has come at a time where Arab-Israeli relations are the most strained they’ve been in sometime.

IW #26 Jewish State
Palestinian Israeli citizens protest the proposed “Jewish State” bill (Photo curtesy of Al Jazeera)

There are many who believe that for the Arab population who hold Israeli citizenship nothing significant will change. According to many Arab advocacy groups, for the most part Arabs have never had equal rights to Jewish Israeli citizens. The Arab population has always faced discrimination; the only practical effect, they claim is that the bill will now make it legal. Israelis who support the bill are mainly comprised of Israel’s right wing Likud Party. Prime Minister Netanyahu is a member of the Likud party; the right wing has pushed him for a nationalist bill for sometime. Palestinian leaders and other Arab leaders still refuse to recognize the connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel, the Prime Minister has stressed this in many speeches given in support of the bill. Advocates of the bill say it is the right of the Jewish people to pass legislation in their own country.

Protests have been wide spread by both Arabs and Jews who don’t support the bill. Most protesters believe the bill is fueling an already raging fire. The U.S. State Department has urged Israel to uphold democratic principles. The European Union has also spoke out against the passage of the Jewish State bill. Tensions will continue to rise as the wait for the vote on the bill continues.

The Prime Minister’s Cabinet approved the bill by a vote of 14-6. The bill now has to pass through the Israeli Knesset, which is the legislative body of the Israeli government. However, the vote has been delayed in the Knesset due to the Prime Minister calling for early elections and the dissolving of the parliament. The vote on the bill will be delayed until a new parliament is elected.

For more information, please see:

Al Jazeera — “We are not Citizens with Equal Rights” — 3 December 2014

The Telegraph — What is the Jewish State Bill? — 27 November 2014

Eyewitness News — Hundreds Protest over “Jewish State Bill” — 2 December 2014

The Jerusalem Post — PM: Palestinian Failure to Recognize Jewish Links to Israel is a “Tragedy” — 1 December 2014

Thirty Years Later Victims of Worst Industrial Disaster in World History Still Wait For Justice

By Kathryn Maureen Ryan
Managing Editor, Impunity Watch

NEW DELHI, India – During the middle of the night on December 2-3 1984 large quantities of the deadly gas methyl isocyanate was accidentally released from a Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant located in the city of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. The ploom of gas spread over the city as About 30 metric tons of methyl isocyanate) escaped into the atmosphere in a span of about 45 to 60 minutes. Leaks had occurred in the plant before and the poor condition of the plant was known by its operators were aware that many of the plant’s safety systems were not working and its operation valves were in poor condition. The disaster would claim more than 25,000 lives and leave more than 40,000 people permanently disabled making the event the worst industrial disaster in world history. After the disaster the Union Carbide company, whose parent company is Huston based Down Chemical Company, abandoned the planed without cleaning any of the toxic waste it left behind. Today illnesses related to acute toxic poisoning are still reported in local hospitals.

Safreen Khan (aged 20) is amoung those calling for justice. Her mother Nafisha (aged 40) was taken away with the dead the night of the disaster, but was brought back home by her father Zabbar Khan when someone noticed she was still breathing. (Photo courtesy of Newsweek)

On the wake of the thirtieth anniversary of the Bhopal industrial disaster Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called on the government of Narendra Modi led  should raise issues pertaining to the Bhopal Gas tragedy with United States President Barack Obama during the President’s visit to India in January next year. “It is time to give victims and survivors the compensation they deserve. It is time to clean up the site and toxic wastes. And it is time to ensure justice and bring Dow Chemicals and Carbide to book,” he said.

A new film staring Indian American actor Kal Penn and directed by Ravi Kumar address the Bhopal disaster, exploring the events that led to the deadly release of toxic gas in 1984. The film “Bhopal: A Prayer for Rain,” opened in New York City last follows the story of Dilip, a former rickshaw driver who gets a job at the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal in the early 1980s. Dilip, played by Kal Penn, and his co-workers become increasingly concerned by the lack of concern for safety around them.

“The Bhopal tragedy is one of the world’s worst industrial disasters, period,” Penn said. “There was such a multitude of other factors at play: corruption within government, lax safety standards, lack of enforcement or oversight, intimidation, the need for jobs, and of course corporate legal loopholes.”

The film also depicts Warren Anderson, the American CEO of Union Carbide who was arrested as he headed to India after the accident, although he was eventually allowed to leave the country without facing a trial. Said his team reached out to Anderson while writing the script to get his side of the story, but were unable to speak to him. “F or three decades, Union Carbide has used USA as a safe haven from criminal charges to dodge culpable homicide. The Bhopal Chief Judicial Magistrate has called Union Carbide six times but because of their consistent no show, has called it an ‘absconder’,” Shetty said.

“We know that the safety standard in the West Virginia plant of Union Carbide was much higher than Bhopal. It is time to right these wrongs,” Shetty said. “On behalf of Amnesty International, I am here to say the victims and survivors of the worst industrial disaster of our times can’t be asked to wait any longer. 30 years ago about 20,000 people died, up to half a million affected. They can’t wait any longer,” he said.

After the disaster Dow Chemical and Union Carbide simply abandoned Bhopal and even worked to create an illusion that time has healed Bhopal’s wounds. Today the rusting pipelines and burst gas tanks remain at the site tangled with lush green shoots. Fishermen fish the toxic waters of the plant’s abandoned evaporation ponds, families graze their goats on long grass and children play in the shadow of the chemical plant where a fine coating of chemical powder from the chemical leak can still be seen. No real cleanup has occurred, and despite the continued exposure of local families to chemical poisoning, no one has been brought to justice for the worst industrial disaster in world history.

For more information please see:

Amnesty International – Thirty Years On From Bhopal Disaster: Still Fighting For Justice – 2 December 2014

Newsweek – 30 Years On, the World’s Worst Industrial Disaster Continues To Blight Bhopal – 2 December 2014

International Business Times – Bhopal Disaster 30th Anniversary: Facts about the World’s Worst Industrial Tragedy – 1 December 2014

NBC News – Kal Penn’s New Film Dives into Bhopal Disaster, 30 Years Later – 7 November 2014

ICTJ | In Focus: Ending Violence Against Women

Today, November 25th, ICTJ joins the global observations of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and the start of the “16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign.” On this day, we recognize the ongoing efforts to protect women from violence in different parts of the world.

It is also a time to reflect on the many ways this deeply complex and often culturally entrenched problem is being addressed in countries reckoning with past human rights abuses. For women who have been victims of sexual or other forms of violence during armed conflict or repressive rule, peace treaties or regime change doesn’t necessarily bring an end to their suffering, or guarantee justice for crimes committed against them.

In ICTJ’s work where widespread violence has disproportionately affected women, we’ve seen how challenging it is for victims of gender-based violence to seek justice or redress: the myriad of obstacles facing women in the justice system often deter them from telling authorities about crimes in the first place, preventing any future efforts to see justice done.

Public institutions—including police forces and the judicial system—have a key role to play to ensure women are protected from abuse and that gender-based violence does not go unreported or unpunished. Even simple reforms of police at the basic level, such as ensuring victims can speak to a female officer at a police station, or covering the cost of basic medical exams, can make a huge difference to make victims feel secure. Police officers who are implicated in incidents of sexual violence should be thoroughly vetted, and those taking statements from victims—including police officers, lawyers or other legal authorities—should receive detailed training on how to conduct the interview without risking re-traumatization.

While changing the ways of bureaucratic systems can be cumbersome, without such change other progress to protect women’s rights is at risk. Citizens’ trust in public institutions forms the foundation for society’s transition to peace and the rule of law.

Spotlight: Reforming the National Police in Kenya

Kenya is still dealing with the repercussions of post-election violence that erupted across the counrty in 2007 and included many cases of rapes and sexual assaults. Kenyan police officers were widely implicated in incidents of sexual violence, either by sexually assaulting women or failing to fulfill their duty to investigate such cases during the crisis and up until now. However, not a single case has been prosecuted.

The disturbing impact of police attitudes towards sexual and gender-based violence was reflected in a recent ICTJ report, The Accountability Gap on Sexual Violence in Kenya: Reforms and Initiatives Since the Post-Election Crisis. Of the 48 women interviewed, only nine had reported their sexual assault to the police.

Endemic corruption and a culture of tolerance towards violence against women combine to protect these officers from accountability. And many victims are afraid to come forward, as they fear social stigmatization and additional abuse from police.

Those who did not report to the police attributed their inaction to the hostility they expected from police officers. For example, one woman reported:

“The police in Molo were harsh and cruel. It was also shameful, being an old woman . . . I was embarrassed to tell my husband, and my daughters were also raped. They left for Nairobi and have never returned.”

ICTJ’s Gender Justice Program is assisting the National Police Services Commission of Kenya and the country’s civil society to reform police practices. The police vetting process offers the best chance to remove perpetrators from the forces, as well as those at higher levels who tolerate sexual violence.

In June and October, ICTJ held training workshops to enhance public awareness of Kenya’s police vetting program and how to engage with it, as well as to provide concrete recommendations to improve its capacity to reveal police misconduct related to sexual violence.

Read more about ICTJ’s work in Kenya in the latest ICTJ Program report here

Photo: A woman looks into a polling station before voting in a general election in Ilbissil, Kenya, March 4, 2013 (AP Photo/Riccardo Gangale)

Flash Report about Massacres in Raqqa‎

Policy Change Regarding Blood Donations By Gay Men Under Review

By Lyndsey Kelly

Impunity Watch Reporter, North America

 WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America – A series of hearings that many expect will ease the blanket ban on gay men donating blood is set to begin this week. A U.S. advisory panel recommended for the first time in 31 years, that a ban preventing gay and bisexual men from donating blood be partially ended. Such a reformation will put the United States’ policies in line with other countries.

A series of hearings will be held this week to evaluate the current policy regarding blood donation by gay males (Photo courtesy of Washington Times).

The nation’s current policy bars men who have had sex with other men anytime since 1977 from giving blood in the United States. This policy dates back to the AIDS crisis in 1983, due to concerns that the virus could be transmitted through blood transfusions. According to the FDA’s website, the risk of getting HIV from a blood transfusion is about 1 per 2 million units of blood transfused. Groups such as the American Red Cross say that the risk of HIV transmission in this manner is infinitesimal in many cases, and does not justify a full ban on blood donations by gay men. If the current ban was to be completely eliminated, which does not seem likely at this point in time, 360,600 men would probably donate approximately 615,300 pints of blood a year. This would then aid 1.8 million people, according to a study done in September by the University of California.

On Thursday, the HHS Advisory Committee on Blood & Tissue Safety & Availability will hear results from studies on how MSM might respond to a change in blood-donation rules and current risks of transfusion-transmitted viral infections. Doctors and advocated who advise the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services voted 16-2 on 29 November, suggesting that men who have had sex with other men should be able to donate blood only after being abstinent for one year. This will compensate for the 11-day window that current HIV tests have in which the virus cannot be detected.

While there is an agreement among experts that the current policy needs to be addressed, there is no consensus on how to change it. Recommendations of various advisory committees will be considered by a group of advisors to the Food and Drug Administration on 2 December. However, the FDA is not compelled to follow the recommendations.


For more information, please see the following:

BLOOMBERG – Blood Donations By Gay Men Gain Support In U.S. Panel Vote – 13 Nov. 2014.

FOX NEWS – FDA to Weigh Lifting Ban on Gay Men Donating Blood – 28 November 2014.

WASHINGTON POST –Government could Ear 31-Year-Old Ban On Blood Donations From Gay Men – 29 Nov. 2014.

WASHINGTON TIMES – Gay Blood –Donor Ban Under Review – 12 November 2014.

World Food Programme Suspends Food Services to More Than 1.7 Million Syrian Refugees

By Kathryn Ryan
Impunity Watch, Managing Editor

DAMASCUS, Syria – The World Food Programme (WFP), The United Nations’ food agency, has announced that it is suspending its food Programme which serve more than 1.7 million Syrian refugees because the agency has run out of money to fund the Programme. On Monday, The World Food Programme that it “immediately needs” at least $64 million in December alone to support the Syrian refugees who have fled the deadly conflict in Syria and are now living in neighboring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey. Since the Syrian Civil war began in 2011 more than three million people have fled the country and are now living as refugees. The World Food Programme is the world’s largest agency dedicated to ending world hunger and is a critical source of food for refugees struggling to survive around the world.

The World Food Programme (WFP) provides basic staples to refugee families and provide vouchers allowing families to purchase much needed food in local shops, however the funding crisis facing The World Food Programme (WFP) threatens the future of refugees as they head into the harsh winter months. (Photo courtesy of Al Jazeera)

“A suspension of World Food Programme food assistance will endanger the health and safety of these refugees and will potentially cause further tensions, instability and insecurity in the neighboring host countries,” said World Food Programme Executive Director Ertharin Cousin, in an appeal to donors. “The suspension of WFP food assistance will be disastrous for many already suffering families.”

World Food Programme uses a voucher program that allows refugees to buy food World Food buy food for themselves and their families in local shops. The United Nations provides basic staples like flour, cooking oil and sugar directly to refugees. The Programme also gives vital food vouchers to pregnant and nursing mothers. According to the United Nations, “without WFP vouchers, many families will go hungry. For refugees already struggling to survive the harsh winter, the consequences of halting this assistance will be devastating.”

The funding cuts could be devastate both Syrian refugee populations and internally displaced families still living in Syria. Every month, the United Nations feeds more than four million people inside Syria, and more than a million more now living as refugees in other countries.

Muhannad Hadi, the United Nations coordinator of the food Programme, said “It’s definitely a catastrophe.” He added, “if we cannot deliver the food voucher, they simply would not be able to eat.” The World Food Program is asking the world to help address this international crisis and as Syrian refugees face a harsh winter ahead, the consequences of being forced to suspend critical food services due to lack of funding could be devastating for those who depend on the agency for their survival and the survival of their families.

For more information please see:

Al Jazeera – UN runs out of money to feed Syrian refugees – 1 December 2014

BBC News – Syria conflict: WFP suspends refugee food aid scheme – 1 December 2014

The New York Times – World Food Program, Short on Money, Says It – 1 December 2014

The Wall Street Journal – United Nations’ Food Program Halts Aid to Syrian Refugees – 1 December 2014


Pro-Democracy Activists Force Closure of Hong Kong Government Headquarters

By Kathryn Maureen Ryan
Managing Editor, Impunity Watch

BEIJING, China – Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators forced the temporary closure of the Hong Kong government’s headquarters on Monday after they clashed with police as police used pepper spray and batons in an attempt to clear the streets for the morning commute of protesters outside in defiance of orders to retreat after more than two months of sustained protestors the streets of Hong-Kong. Chaos erupted in the streets as commuters made their way to work, with hundreds of protesters surrounding the Admiralty Centre, which houses offices and retail outlets, in a tense stand-off with police. The central government offices and the legislature were forced to close in the morning, as were several of sores.

(Video courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)

The recent clashes underscore the protester’s frustrations with the central government in Beijing for refusing to address their concerns. The government in Beijing has so far refused to budge on electoral reforms and grant greater democracy to the Hong Kong. Dozens of volunteer medics attended to several people who were injured during the clashes, some of whom were unconscious and others suffered head injuries. Police said at least 40 arrests were made as a result of the clashes with police.” The atmosphere in Admiralty is very different now after the clashes last night,” said Jessica Lam, aged 20, who returned to the protest site on Monday morning. “It has become very tense, like back to the early days when the protest just started.”

A pro-democracy demonstrator screams as policemen attempt to arrest him during clashes between the Hong Kong police and protesters on Lung Wo Road. (Photo courtesy of The Guardian)

The democracy movement represents one of the biggest threats for China’s Communist Party leadership since the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy student protests known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Protesters have continued to take to the streets in Hong Kong in what has become known as the Umbrella Revolution despite fears of government crackdowns.

China has been criticized for attempting to stifle stories coming out of Hong Kong during the historic protestors. The government censors stories from Hong Kong, filtering references to the protests on Chinese social media and news outlets. The government has also canceled a planned visit to the former British Colony by officials from the United Kingdom. In response to the recent unrest the Chinese government told a groups of members of the British Parlmement that they would be stopping a planned visit to Hong Kong, a former British Colony. Sir Richard Ottoway, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee, accused the Chinese authorities of acting in an “overtly confrontational manner.” Sir Richard added that he would request an emergency Commons debate on the issue. He also added: “The real worry about this is that it sends a signal about the direction of travel that China is going on Hong Kong. Immigration is a devolved matter to the Hong Kong authorities, and it’s not for China to ban them.”

Earlier this month The House of Commons committee took evidence from Lord Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong, who criticized British politicians for not doing enough to support democracy in Hong Kong. He argued that the terms of the 1984 Joint Declaration between the UK and China, for the transfer of sovereignty to China which established a “one country, two systems” principle of governance, explicitly gave the UK a “legitimate” interest in Hong Kong’s future. “When China asserts that what is happening in Hong Kong is nothing to do with us, we should make it absolutely clear both publicly and privately that it is not the case,” he said.

For more information please see:

BBC News – China Blocks British MPs’ Visit To Hong Kong – 30 November 2014

The Guardian – Hong Kong Protesters and Police Face Off As Violent Exchanges Continue – 30 November 2014

Reuters – Hong Kong Protesters Clash With Police, Government HQ Closes – 30 November 2014

The Wall Street Journal – Violence Flares in Hong Kong as Protests Reignite – 30 November 2014