UK report slams 'police violence' against medics - RTHK
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UK report slams 'police violence' against medics

2020-08-05 HKT 11:31
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  • A report by British MPs says first aiders, some of whom are seen detained in this social media image, were targeted because they were providing assistance to injured protesters.
    A report by British MPs says first aiders, some of whom are seen detained in this social media image, were targeted because they were providing assistance to injured protesters.
Maggie Ho reports
A group of British lawmakers has urged London to impose sanctions on Chief Executive Carrie Lam, the Police Commissioner and all those responsible for what it found to be “excessive police violence” against medical workers during the anti-government protests.

The All-party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong – an informal group of members of the UK parliament – conducted an inquiry since March this year, which received around 1,000 written submissions and heard oral evidence of 10 people via video link including senior medical professionals, first aiders, journalists, and a former policeman.

The report said that the police have intimidated, harassed and threatened humanitarian aid workers, as well as inflicted physical violence and arrested them, in ways that fall short of international humanitarian law and principles, international human rights and the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

The report further suggested that police officers apparently had targeted them because they were providing assistance to injured protesters, and this may well be “the tip of an iceberg”.

“The inquiry’s findings regarding the failures of the [Hong Kong Police Force] are also significant as they demonstrate a broader condition of impunity for human rights violations when they are committed by State authorities,” the inquiry noted.

“The treatment of medical workers may well be the tip of the iceberg, considering credible reports by human rights organisations on instances of abuse in detention, sexual violence, and other violations,” it added.

The group urged the British government to lead the efforts in calling for a United Nations Human Rights Council probe, as well as an International Bar Association independent inquiry.

It said the UK should look at whether the targeted humanitarian aid workers fall within the purview of the Refugee Convention and consider how they could be best assisted.

It said people at “high level in the administration” who permitted the excessive police violence, including the Chief Executive and the police chief, should be subject to sanctions.

The visa relaxation to British National Overseas passport holders should not be applicable to those who have supported or condoned police violence, or anyone who encouraged or endorsed the newly enacted national security law.

The inquiry also urged the British government to offer help to the Hong Kong government, such as strengthening human rights training to police officers, and step up human rights protections, as well as ensuring any complaint mechanism can work independently and effectively.

RTHK has asked the police department for comments about the report.