An open letter from Justice & Peace Commission of HK Catholic Diocese to national commissions for justice and peace in Asia, some G20 countries, Australia and New Zealand to urge them to convey our concerns and demands to their governments, and to stand with us and pray for Hong Kong.
An open letter from Justice and Peace Commission of Hong Kong Catholic Diocese
Under the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 ("the Extradition Bill") as proposed by the Hong Kong Government, Hong Kong citizens and foreign nationals staying in or passing through Hong Kong could be extradited not only to China but also to any other jurisdictions in the world, including those which have not yet signed or implemented the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR"). These regimes include China, North Korea and Zimbabwe with which Hong Kong has no existing formal extradition agreement. In view of the poor rankings and woeful records of these countries on the rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of the press and human rights which are worlds apart from the current standards in Hong Kong, we remain totally unconvinced that the personal safety and the rights of property of Hong Kong people could be safeguarded following the passage of the Extradition Bill. The expected breakdown of the already fragile firewall protecting Hong Kong from mainland China under the "One Country, Two Systems" principle as a result of the Extradition Bill has caused utmost concerns among Hongkongers.
Without adequately going through a proper public consultation exercise, the Hong Kong Government tried to fast-track the unpopular Extradition Bill through the legislature with utter disregard to established parliamentary practice and conventions. The attempt to directly resume the Extradition Bill's second reading in the Legislative Council without going through the due process of legislative scrutiny was evident on how the Chief Executive and the Secretary for Security had robbed the right of the public and their elected representatives to influence the drafting of legislation, as well as a blatant trample on the dignity of the legislature. For these, we express our deep outrage.
While justice should be upheld for the sorrowful murder case in Taiwan, it is unwise to find justice with an unjustified solution which would result in the sacrifice of the greater good for the general public. The public had repeatedly voiced out loud and clear against the Extradition Bill, starting with the 130,000-strong demonstration on 28 April 2019, followed by the record-high turnouts of 1.03 million and later two million marchers in mid-June, in addition to the sacrifice of a campaigner who fell to his death in the process of displaying a petition banner outside a building. Despite the general dissent, the Police had responded by cracking down on unarmed peaceful protesters with an iron fist on 12 June 2019, causing disproportional casualties and furious public outcry.
We urge the Hong Kong Government to:
1) establish a completely impartial and independent Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances of the incident on 12 June 2019 and the action of the Police force;
2) retract the official description of the protest on 12 June 2019 as "riot"; and
3) adhering to public demands by formally withdrawing the Extradition Bill from the Legislative Council immediately.
According to the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, “Authority must enact just laws, that is, laws that correspond to the dignity of the human person and to what is required by right reason. ‘Human law is law insofar as it corresponds to right reason and therefore is derived from the eternal law. When, however, a law is contrary to reason, it is called an unjust law; in such a case it ceases to be law and becomes instead an act of violence’’
- Section 398, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican
As world leaders are meeting in Japan for the G20 Summit, we implore your Commission to convey our concerns and demands to your governments, and to stand with us and pray for Hong Kong.