FIDH 40th Congress – Taipei, Taiwan
FIDH Urgent Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in Hong Kong
Sponsored by Human Rights in China (HRIC) and the Taiwan Association for Human Rights (TAHR)
Delegates gathered at the FIDH 40th Congress,
Recognizing that over the past four months, diverse sectors of Hong Kong society have engaged in large-scale demonstrations triggered by the government’s introduction of an extradition bill in the Legislative Council. As pointed out by legal experts, the extradition bill would subject all persons in Hong Kong to potential extradition to mainland China, where there is no independent and functioning rule of law or guarantees of due process protections for person extradited.
Noting that although the Chief Executive announced that the extradition bill will be formally withdrawn during the current session of the Legislative Council, the bill still has not been formally withdrawn.
Expressing deep concern at Hong Kong authorities’ response to these protests and the rampant state-sanctioned violence, which have fueled the ongoing human rights crisis in Hong Kong. Echoing national security and counterterrorism narratives put forward by mainland China’s government, the Hong Kong government (HKSAR) and its police force have disregarded international human rights law and standards in: criminalizing and suppressing the exercise of fundamental rights of speech, assembly, opinion, and expression; using emergency powers to introduce politically-motivated legislation; conducting mass arrests; and disproportionate use of force.
Noting with grave concern that, in many instances, members of law enforcement agencies have failed to adhere to the principles of necessity and proportionality in the policing of those assemblies, which were predominantly peaceful. Abundant evidence has emerged of incidents involving the excessive use of force by police against protestors and bystanders, including the indiscriminate use of tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets and, on several occasions, the firing of live ammunition, and, to date, wounding at least two young persons. There are also numerous documented instances of targeted violence by police, including shooting and blinding a journalist.
Noting with grave concern that physical attacks by agents affiliated with pro-Beijing triad elements targeting activists, human rights defenders, and candidates for upcoming district council elections, Hong Kong authorities and law enforcement agencies have failed to offer adequate protection to protesters and bystanders, and have instead selectively enforced the law.
Noting with grave concern that more than 2,500 people, including minors, lawyers, social workers, journalists, and medical personnel have been arrested and detained. Particularly concerning is the authorities’ failure to respond to credible allegations of torture, gender-based violence in detention, obstruction of access to defense lawyers, targeting of on-duty media and medical personnel, and disregard for the status of minors.
Expressing deep concern over the lack of any credible and independent investigations into the documented actions by law enforcement agencies in the violent dispersal of public assemblies, excessive use of force in conducting arrests, and violent indiscriminate attacks on citizens, attacks by non-state actors, and reports of decoy police involved in perpetuating acts of violence and vandalism.
Recalling that the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials prescribe that law enforcement officials “may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result” and that whenever the lawful use of force and firearms is unavoidable, law enforcement officials should “exercise restraint in such use and act in proportion to the seriousness of the offense” and “minimize damage and injury.”
Recalling that in September 2019, four UN experts urged mainland China’s government and HKSAR authorities to respect protesters’ rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, protect the safety and rights of those who participate in assemblies, and create an environment conducive to a diverse and pluralistic expression of ideas and dissent from government policy.
Condemn the Hong Kong law enforcement’s excessive use of force in dispersing public assemblies, carrying out arrests, indiscriminate attacks on citizens, and its failure to protect citizens, in violation of international human rights standards including the Basic Principles on Law Enforcement Use of Force.
Fully support the five demands of the Hong Kong people and:
Urge the authorities to guarantee that individuals are able to exercise their right to freedom of peaceful assembly and that the policing of public protests is conducted in accordance with international standards, and that further training of the police in appropriate use of force be conducted in accordance with recommendations of international experts.
Urge the authorities to set up an independent commission tasked with conducting swift, thorough, and impartial investigations into all reports of excessive use of force by police during ongoing demonstrations in order to identify and sanction those responsible.
Urge the authorities to end the practice of the prior designation of assemblies as “unlawful”, and the use of such designation in order to ban demonstrations or take legal action against its participants.
Urge the Chief Executive to immediately and formally withdraw the extradition bill and to ensure that future proposed legislation complies with international standards to which Hong Kong is bound and is drafted following extensive and meaningful consultation with all concerned stakeholders.
Call upon the government to enact the necessary institutional and legislative reforms to ensure universal suffrage within the framework of the Basic Law.