Burmese Cardinal Muang Bo has signed an open letter condemning police brutality in Hong Kong over the Christmas holidays.
“We have been horrified to see reports of police firing teargas, pepper-spray and rubber bullets at close-range at shoppers, peaceful protesters and innocent by-standers on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and again on Saturday 28 December,” said the letter.
The letter, dated Dec. 31, was addressed to Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, and was signed by more than 40 prominent political leaders from around the world, in addition to Cardinal Bo, who is head of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences.
“We are profoundly disturbed by scenes of children and young people being severely beaten, and of rubber bullets being fired into people’s faces, acts which any ballistics expert would confirm presents a serious risk of injury or death, and which therefore is a serious violation of international standards,” the letter said.
The letter called on Lam and the Hong Kong police force to use of “only proportionate measures.”
The signatories also asked for an independent inquiry into police brutality and the release of all “unjustly detained” protestors who were engaging in peaceful protests; “meaningful dialogue with the recently elected district councilors” and additional political reform.
The letter also noted an offer of assistance from the international community for “encouraging or facilitating a process of mediation and reconciliation.”
“We appeal to you to use your authority and exercise your responsibility to seek genuine ways forward out of this crisis by addressing the grievances of Hong Kong people, bringing the Hong Kong Police Force under control, ensuring accountability and an end to impunity for serious violations of human rights, and beginning a process of democratic political reform,” the letter added.
“It is clear to us that these steps offer some hope of a way forward out of the current crisis.”
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