聯署人來自美國、英國、澳洲、加拿大、馬來西亞、南韓等至少18個國家，包括英國下議院前議長白高漢（John Bercow)、香港監察（Hong Kong Watch）贊助人奧爾頓勳爵（Lord Alton of Liverpool）、英國前外相聶敬偉（Malcolm Rifkind）、立陶宛國會議員阿頓梅納斯（Mantas Adomenas）；亞洲地區方面，聯署人包括南韓前人權大使李鐘勛（Jung-Hoon Lee）、亞洲主教團協會主席貌波（Charles Maung Bo）等。
AN OPEN LETTER TO HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE CARRIE LAM
We are writing to express our grave concerns at the recent escalation in police brutality over the Christmas period.
We have been horrified to see reports of police firing teargas, pepper-spray and rubber bullets at close-range at shoppers, peaceful protesters and innocent by-standers on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and again on Saturday 28 December. We are profoundly disturbed by scenes of children and young people being severely beaten, and of rubber bullets being fired into people’s faces, acts which any ballistics expert would confirm presents a serious risk of injury or death, and which therefore is a serious violation of international standards.
We note the Hong Kong government’s rebuttal of a statement by Hong Kong Watch, its rejection of the Washington Post’s in-depth report which details how police actions have been in serious breach of the Hong Kong Police Force’s own standards, and its response to the publication of a letter by key religious figures from the United Kingdom initiated by Stand With Hong Kong, but we remain gravely concerned that the Hong Kong government’s explanation is extremely unsatisfactory. Criticism by such organisations of police brutality or even of Hong Kong government’s conduct and policy does not make such organisations “anti-government”.
We are also gravely concerned by the reports of a British surgeon resident in Hong Kong, Dr Darren Mann, in an article in the world’s leading medical journal The Lancet, in which he details the arrest and abuse of doctors, nurses and first-aiders at protest sites, and further reports which include claims of police in full riot gear with weapons patrolling hospital wards, insisting on accompanying doctors on consultations, demanding access to medical records, seeking access to hospital operation theatres and using ambulances to transport riot police – all violations of international humanitarian norms.
The abuse of the press by the Hong Kong Police Force, and reports of torture, beatings and sexual abuse in detention are also profoundly concerning.
We understand that the actions of a small group of protesters have been violent, and we do not in any way condone violence or vandalism. However, we wish to note two important points. First, the vast majority of protesters have been peaceful, and yet they have also been attacked aggressively by the Hong Kong Police Force. Second, while nothing justifies violence, it is clear that those protesters who have resorted to violence have acted in desperation and frustration, borne of your government’s refusal to listen to their real fears, understood by many around the world, for more than six months. Their fears are not just for themselves right now, but for their future and for the lives of unborn children who will count Hong Kong as home after 2047.
We are therefore writing to appeal to you to re-think the position and strategy of the Hong Kong SAR Government. A cycle of violence is in nobody’s interests.
It is essential that the Hong Kong Police Force is instructed to exercise restraint, to respect peaceful protest, and to use only proportionate measures when dealing with any violent conduct.
Secondly, we urge you to listen to the protesters’ demands and in particular to make it possible for an independent inquiry into police brutality to be established. Should you continue to reject this idea, we call on the international community to establish an international, independent inquiry mechanism.
Thirdly, we call for the release of all protesters who have been unjustly detained and who have engaged in peaceful protest. Just because some protesters have turned to violence, it does not invalidate peaceful protests and it does not turn peaceful participants into criminals.
Fourthly, we urge you to consider political reform, following the clear message from the recent turnout and results in the district council elections, and to begin a meaningful dialogue with the recently elected district councilors who have a direct mandate from the people.
Fifthly, if we or others from the international community can be helpful in encouraging or facilitating a process of mediation and reconciliation, we stand ready to assist.
Hong Kong is a great world city, a major international financial and trading centre, and an important gateway to China and the rest of Asia. It would be a tragedy if it loses this role and gains a reputation for repression.
We appeal to you to use your authority and exercise your responsibility to seek genuine ways forward out of this crisis by addressing the grievances of Hong Kong people, bringing the Hong Kong Police Force under control, ensuring accountability and an end to impunity for serious violations of human rights, and beginning a process of democratic political reform. It is clear to us that these steps offer some hope of a way forward out of the current crisis.
Failure to seize this opportunity will result in further human suffering, fear, violence and instability and the tragic decline of your great city. It may also result in even more vocal calls for targeted Magnitsky sanctions against officials in Hong Kong directly or indirectly responsible for human rights violations. It is our hope that you choose a path of constructive and meaningful reform which makes reconciliation and healing possible.