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Police Violence in Hong Kong Condemned

We, the Malaysian civil society organizations, in solidarity with the Hong Kong people on this occasion of the International Human Rights Day, write to condemn the recent spike in violence against peaceful demonstrators in Hong Kong. We call upon the Hong Kong Government to respect the right to freedom of expression, assembly and democracy of the Hong Kong people.

As violence has escalated in the last two weeks, police have increased their use of excessive force, in particularly, through the widespread use of batons, tear gas and concentrated pepper spray on 29 and 30 November to remove protesters from around Lung Wo Road. These clashes resulted in approximately 40 people being sent to hospital and left many others temporarily blind or vomiting. Such excessive and dangerous force used against peaceful protesters is in breach of international human rights standards.

The violence which followed the removal of the encampment in Mong Kok and the use of triads and paid “anti-demonstrators” to harass, abuse, and attack the peaceful protesters are deeply worrying and should not be tolerated in any circumstances. Additionally, the physical violence used against student leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum during their arrests in Mong Kok is particularly of grave concern.

There have also been instances where police removed their identification numbers and interfered with media coverage of their attacks on protesters. Police have also resorted to arresting journalists, such as Wong Chun-Lung, as part of their attempts to hide their human rights violations. This removal of identification numbers shows a clear intention of the authorities to use excessive force and to ensure that their brutality would not be recorded. This is evident in the numerous video footages showing police hitting bystanders using excessive force. That incidences like these are well attested to, including by observers from Amnesty International, suggests a serious and widespread problem among law enforcement.

We further condemn the signals being sent down from those in leadership positions, including the Chief Executive Leung Chung-Ying who has encouraged police to take “resolute action” and has warned that “people have mistaken the police’s tolerance for weakness.” The Chief Executive should be reminded that a democratic government is elected to serve the people and not to oppress.

We, demand the Government of Hong Kong to ensure the rights of the protesters to assembly and expression are upheld and protected, and that the police show the utmost restraint in their interactions with the pro-democracy protesters. Finally, we call for the demands of the protesters to be met and for the guarantee of universal suffrage in Hong Kong.

Endorsees:

1.Academic Committee of LLG Cultural Development Center
2.Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
3.Civil Rights Committee of Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall
4.Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
5.Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET)
6.Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
7.Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
8.Solidarity for Civil Rights in China (SCRC)
9.Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
10.Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy
11.Writers Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)