The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) is calling on the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, to start an independent investigation into what it says is police brutality against those protesting the extradition bill that would have allowed suspects to be sent from Hong Kong to mainland China for trial.
“‘The increasing brutality to which the Hong Kong protestors have been subjected has us gravely concerned. Hong Kong’s rule of law cannot and must not be eroded,” says IBAHRI Co-Chair, Michael Kirby.
“The right to protest is vital in a democratic society, and human rights such as the freedom of expression and the freedom of the press should be upheld and defended.”
IBAHRI says, during the recent protests, news reports have shown the police subjecting protesters to unprecedented violence, including firing water cannons, tear gas and ‘non-lethal’ rubber bullets, beating people with batons, drawing firearms and firing live shots. It adds that on-site paramedics and first aid teams have been targeted by the police.
Furthermore, IBAHRI says, undercover police dressed as protesters, have provoked clashes, then subdued them by force and arrested genuine protesters without showing them their warrant cards. Many protesters have been detained and denied access to a lawyer for several hours.
“Though we welcome Carrie Lam’s decision to withdraw the controversial extradition bill, we urge her to open an investigation into police brutality against Hong Kong citizens, as witnessed across the globe in daily news reports,” says IBAHRI Co-Chair, Anne Ramberg.
Under the policy ‘one country, two systems’, Hong Kong maintains a constitution which is known as the Basic Law, which guarantees freedoms, for example, the right to protest, freedom of the press and freedom of speech. However, many residents have stated that China’s mainland is encroaching on these rights.