Thank you, Madam President.
Since pro-democracy demonstrations began in Hong Kong in June 2019, the Hong Kong Police Force has arrested over 7,000 protesters, including human rights observers, journalists, law-makers, and district councillors. It has also used unnecessary and disproportionate force against them, attacking their freedoms of expression and assembly and threatening civil society space in Hong Kong.
Extensive and consistent evidence of disproportionate use of force, including videos, images, press coverage, and other reports, indicates that police used tear gas in enclosed spaces, physically attacked unarmed protesters and journalists, improperly used crowd dispersal weapons, and sexually abused female protesters.
In a demonstration on February 8th this year, at least 119 demonstrators, including at least two journalists and five district concillors, were initially reported to be arrested on the arbitrary grounds of “suspicious illegal assembly” or related unjustified charges.
The Independent Police Complaints Council has proved powerless to deter or ensure accountability for these abuses due to its restricted powers and lack of independence, and other accountability mechanisms are lacking.
Human Rights Now calls on Hong Kong authorities to allow an independent investigation of abuse allegations against its police force and to take measures to ensure accountability and prosecutions of anyone found responsible for abuses. This includes relevant reforms of the Independent Police Complaints Council and other accountability mechanisms to ensure their independence and effectiveness.