【 在上訴前夕呈上訴委員會之公開信 】

(Please scroll down for English version)

公眾活動及遊行上訴委員會
主席及委員鈞鑒:

民間人權陣線有關十月二十日遊行上訴的公開信

今天下午四時,警方又一次在記者會高調談及這次已進入上訴程序的遊行申請。我們已經不下一次投訴這種訴諸公眾壓力的行為,但有鑑警方的抹黑,我們實在有必要作出這個公開聲明。

由六月至今,各位委員已多次就公眾活動及遊行的上訴召開聆訊。委員付出時間勞心勞力,我們謹此致意。然而,我們亦希望藉此公開信,向主席及委員表達一些看法,希望各位能夠以開放的態度認真聆聽。如有得罪,還請見諒。

委員會自七月開始,已多次以公眾秩序及公眾安全為由,維持警方反對遊行或集會的決定。但事實是儘管委員會駁回上訴,仍然有大批市民甘願冒上風險,透過集體行動實踐遊行集會權利,表達政治訴求,甚至衍生更多警民衝突。由此可見,反對遊行及集會根本無助緩和社會氣氛,更加無法保障公眾安全。上訴委員會的決定,等於和警方一樣,封閉公眾發聲的渠道,當言論自由和集會自由的權利被限制,民眾的權利意識就更加熱烈,對警隊不滿的社會氣氛只會更形緊張。

公眾遊行和集會權利,均為聯合國《世界人權宣言》、《聯合國公民及政治權利國際公約》、香港《基本法》和《人權法》所保障。過往不少普通法案例,亦確立遊行集會權利和表達自由,不應受到無理或不符比例的限制。民陣上訴時,代表律師通宵達旦鑽研案例,預備文件,在聆訊時力陳己見,希望以理服人。然而,委員會最終決定,往往只是以寥寥數段陳述裁決,既不回應我方援引案例及論點,也未在裁決書陳明決定的理據、法律原則和觀點。即使我方事後多番要求委員會提供充分的裁決理由,也只會不了了之。民陣選擇上訴警方決定,就是相信文明社會以理服人,委員會既有一錘定音的權力,卻不肯解決裁決原因,令我方失望之餘,也只會令委員會的公信力逐步減少。

我們強調,當每一次公眾活動及集會被警方反對、上訴又被駁回,令社會衍生更加激烈的抗爭行動時,警察和上訴委員會都必然要為其反對合法遊行集會的決定負責。萬一有激烈行動導致任何人受傷、流血、甚至犧牲性命,我們的雙手都不能避免地沾上鮮血。

我們認為,委員會除了維持反對以外,仍可以考慮不同方法,讓社會自行在混亂緊張的形勢中儘可能維持秩序、有主辦單位安排音響及糾察組織大型公眾活動,讓市民可以參與和平集會和安全離去。

我們祈請委員會諸位以智慧和理智,決定明日是否仍然維持警察反對民陣遊行的決定。

順祝
工作順利

民間人權陣線
2019年10月18日

********

18th October 2019

Dear Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Members of the Appeal Board,

An open letter to the Appeal Board on Public Meetings and Processions (“the Appeal Board”) regarding the appeal for the march on October 20, 2019

The police discussed in a high-profile manner about our appeal for the march at a press conference at 4pm this afternoon. This is not the first attempt of the police subjecting us to pressure but given how certain police statements discredit our intentions, we feel the need to write this letter.

Since June, members of the Appeal Board have held hearings after hearings to review multiple applications for public meetings and we would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Chairman and members of the Appeal Board. Moreover, we would also like to address several concerns.

Since July, the Appeal Board has repeatedly rejected our appeals against police objections to march or assembly for reasons of public order and safety. Despite these rejections, a large number of people have taken the risks through collectively participating in assemblies to express their political demands, and in some instances, generating police conflicts. The decision of the Appeal Board is symbolic because it can restrict freedom of speech and freedom of assembly through silencing the voice of the people, diminishing a channel for the voice of the people to be heard. This will inevitably create higher tensions within the society and heighten dissatisfaction with the police.

Freedom of expression and of assembly are guaranteed by the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Hong Kong Basic Law and Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance. In the past, many common law cases have also established that the right to freedom of assembly and expression should not be unreasonably or disproportionately restricted.

In preparation for applications and appeals, our lawyers relentlessly studied and reviewed case law, prepared documents to make a case in hope of being heard. However, the response of the Appeal Board often included only a few paragraphs, which neither responded to our arguments, nor the rationale or legal principles behind the decision. Despite our repeated efforts in requesting the Appeal Board to provide more information, there was no information explaining the rationale behind the decisions. Our repeated efforts to appeal is a demonstration of our belief in a civil system. However, repeated rejections without rationale have led to disappointment, not only to us, but to the credibility of the Appeal Board.

We emphasize that in every rejection of public assembly, deeper tension is embedded in society and we believe the police and the Appeal Board are accountable in the event that such rejections lead to any intense action that causes anyone to be injured, the decision makers will be accountable for blood shed.

We believe that the Appeal Board can consider different methods to ease concerns over public order and safety. Some organizers arrange audio system and expertise to ensure the safety of the public in participating in public assemblies.

We hope that the Appeal Board, with its wisdom and reason, will reconsider the decision it has reached for the march tomorrow.

Civil Human Rights Front