MARUAH Statement on Hong Kong protests – 13 June 2019

MARUAH, a Singapore-based human rights organisation, is deeply disappointed at the turn of events in Hong Kong. 

The police actions taken against the protesters on June 12th 2019 were violent, showed a lack of compassion and would add to increasing the tensions between the protesters, the people in Hong Kong and the government of Hong Kong. 

We note that, by comparison, the protests of thousands of people were overwhelmingly peaceful, the recent police actions were overwhelmingly violent.

MARUAH makes three main points here, basing much of what we say here on the plentiful supply of reliable videos, news broadcasts and print stories, from the global force of recognised and well-accepted mainstream media.

Firstly, the protesters’ level of organisation and care for the protesters, the people in Hong Kong, the property, is a focus that is well-placed. Their intentions were clear – no destruction, no harm to people, just withdraw the Extradition Bill. They also came prepared for their own protection – face masks, goggles, helmets, umbrellas – from the police force.

We state that, it would be a better approach for the government of Hong Kong, as a democratically-functioning system, to appreciate the steadfast passion, maturity and sophistication of thousands of people that has been taking place over many days. It is an exception as compared to other protest forms in other countries in various situations. To label the protest as being a “riot” is to focus on some deal-breakers in the protest and to also ignore, any aggravating circumstances, perhaps, even caused by police officers or unseen forces, that triggered a response from some of the protesters. .

Secondly, the police force acted violently against the protesters, using rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper sprays and swinging their batons randomly whilst also pushing back, severely, on the protesters.

We state, that, as the stand-off between the protesters – the people who oppose the Extradition Bill – and the police force would continue, it is important to ensure the security of the protesters and the officers and to keep aggravation of each other to a minimum, a commitment from both sides to ensure that the protests continue to be peaceful.

Thirdly, by the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1997, the way of life in Hong Kong would change from the current “one country, two systems” principle, in 50 years’ time, in 2047. This is a quarter of a century away. Therefore, it is disconcerting to get an Extradition Bill through, at this present moment.

We urge that the Office of the Chief Executive uses the time period over the next decades to put in place more constructive communications and legal frameworks, in an evolutionary pathway towards the watershed year of 2047, and to work with the people of Hong Kong on preserving its democracy, culture and identity, to its best; as China is changing dramatically as its economy rises.

We hope the Chief Executive, Ms Carrie Lam, would consider taking on an adequate and favorable response on the Extradition Bill, respecting the wishes of the people, to avert any hurt, harm and damage on the streets. 

-End-

Note: 
— This statement is issued by MARUAH Secretariat. For further comment, please contact the Secretariat at maruahsg@gmail.com
— Any and all quotes taken from this statement to be ascribed to Spokesperson MARUAH Singapore.   

About MARUAH Singapore

MARUAH is a human-rights NGO based in Singapore.

“Maruah” means “dignity” in Malay, Singapore’s national language. Human rights is fundamentally about maintaining, restoring and reclaiming one’s dignity, and MARUAH strives to achieve this by working on national and regional human rights issues.

MARUAH is also the Singapore focal point of the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism, which is officially recognised in the ASEAN Charter as an entity associated with ASEAN.

More information on MARUAH at www.maruah.org

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