The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”
- Milan Kundera
First came out in French in 1979, Milan Kundera wrote in the opening in The Book of Laughter and Forgetting:
“Nowadays, time moves forward at a rapid pace. Forgotten overnight, a historic event glistens the next day like the morning dew and thus is no longer the backdrop to a narrator's tale but rather an amazing adventure enacted against the background of the over-familiar banality of private life.”
In the age of information explosion, things happen way too fast for us to remember. Official documents are being disposed, history is being rewritten, what more can we do to disentangle the truth from the absurdity we see every day in Hong Kong. Perhaps the rudiment of remembrance is “how to overcome the challenges of information explosion”.
Hong Kong Human Rights Documentation & Research Program (“the Program”) is a project aimed to preserve the history and record our times.
Established in 2014, Civil Rights Observer works to promote human rights and monitor abuse of power by the police. “Stand firm in defending human rights” is not merely a slogan, but a commitment to our fellow Hong Kongers that we stand in solidarity to confront injustices.
The Program aims to document and analyse information and data from reliable sources, including to collect testimonies from victims of human rights violations, to examine and reveal the human rights condition in Hong Kong in light of international human rights standards, and to set out policy recommendations to improve human rights protection of the city.
An unprecedented chilling effect hits civil society due to the promulgation of the Hong Kong National Security Law (the “NSL”). Civil society organisations, political parties, and student groups have disbanded; activists have exiled under the threats of NSL. Ten people were arrested in the July 1 protest, the day after the NSL came into effect. One of the protesters charged with secession and terrorism under the NSL failed to apply for bail. Agnes Chow, Jimmy Lai and others were arrested under the NSL while the police raided the Apple Daily’s newsroom. Lawmakers, activists and human rights defenders are stalked by anonymous people.
The NSL is influencing Hong Kong in a prodigious way. To record the implementation of the NSL in Hong Kong, Civil Rights Observer will publish a periodic report every 3 months assessing the impact on civil society and cases of arrest and prosecution under the NSL, and related human rights concerns. The first monitoring report has been published.
Check it out: https://bit.ly/2SaKwuz
Enshrined in International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Basic Law, press freedom is essential in any society to ensure freedom of opinion and expression, and the enjoyment of other fundamental human rights. “The penalisation of a media outlet, publishers or journalist solely for being critical of the government or the political social system espoused by the government can never be considered to be a necessary restriction of freedom of expression,” says UN Human Rights Committee in General Comment No 34.
Covering social events in Hong Kong since last June, many journalists had faced hostility caused by the authority, including rubber bullet and water cannon aiming at them. The above-mentioned raid on Apple Daily’s newsroom stokes fears among the media and journalists, and suppresses freedom of press in the city.
To record the ordeal the media and journalists had faced and the growing hostility and violence against them in Hong Kong, Civil Rights Observer will collect testimonies from front line media practitioners.
Children’s rights are protected under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Governments should take all appropriate measures to protect children from all forms of violence, abuses, neglect treatment, and exploitation. Discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child’s or his/her parents’ political or other opinions, national, and language, should be condemned.
In the Anti-Extradition Bill movement, nearly 20% of the arrestees are underage. It had been alleged that police taking statements of underage arrestees without the presence of their parents or guardians, the Care or Protection Order (Cap. 213) was being applied to detain the underage arrested. The affected children not only have to bear the legal liability, but they may risk being denied to legal assistance and financial support by their parents of different political views, or may even been expelled from home.
Facing tremendous pressures and challenges in legal, familial, and academic aspects, the underage is often neglected from the mainstream debates and conversations. To record their dilemmas and human rights concerns behind, Civil Rights Observer will collect testimonies from them and analyse their cases from a human rights perspective.
In the previous report on “Policing Protests in Hong Kong: Torture & Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” published by Civil Rights Observer, many interviewees had alleged that they encountered sexual violence and harassment by the police during detention.
To record the conditions of sexual violence and harassment towards arrestees, Civil Rights Observer will collect testimonies from the victims and highlight the human rights concerns behind.
* The above-mentioned topic may be subject to change according to the actual working condition. *
Qualified interviewers were invited to participate and assist in the project, most of them are holding relevant professional qualification or have relevant knowledge. All of the interviewers will be provided training for their tasks. Collecting testimonies is not an easy job. We hope to offer them a reasonable allowance to show our gratitude and appreciation of their work.
To ensure the highest level of information security of Civil Rights Observer, we had done research and established a security protocol in our organisation. As high confidentiality is required to protect the interviewee and testimonies collected, we will upgrade our current information system to an offshore, end-to-end encrypted, and zero-knowledge supported server.
With the growing awareness of personal privacy and information security in the city, we are also planning to organise a series of training workshops for civil society organisations and the public in this regard. But the whole idea is still in a preliminary stage, we would like to know more about your opinions on this.
Please let us know your thoughts. 😊
Our team will review and analyse the testimonies from the perspectives of international human rights standards. We will work together with our legal team to find out the human rights issues raised in the testimonies. In today’s Hong Kong, human rights work can be regarded as a high-risk job. Being a grass-root civil society organisation, Civil Rights Observer does not have many resources, but we hope to provide a reasonable and sustainable salary to our fellow colleagues. Part of the funds received will be used to pay the salaries of our team.
Reports will be published to engage the public and interested parties in an interactive way.
E-version of the report will be published online, and the booklet will be sent to all supporters of our program. Along with the booklet, souvenirs will be given to supporters according to their donation amount.
Printed booklet will be given to our supporters.
Camera Lens Cover:
Protect you from privacy invasions.
Limited Edition Canvas Bag:
2 Colours available
White : The path to human rights and justice is never a short one. We might be a slow walker but we never walk back.
Black: People are being blocked and silenced under the authoritarian governance. To remind us the importance of freedom of speech and thoughts by support the citizens blocked/ silenced by the government.
Donate HKD$200 or more: 1 Booklet
Donate HKD$500 or more: 2 Booklets & 1 set of Camera Lens Cover
Donate HKD$800 or more: 3 Booklets & 1 Limited Edition Canvas Bag
Donate HKD$1200 or more: 4 Booklets & 1 set of Camera Lens Cover & 1 Limited Edition Canvas bag
Established in 2014, Civil Rights Observer is a civil society organisation focusing on police use of powers as well as civil and political rights in Hong Kong. We document and monitor issues including excessive use of force by the police, violation of freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of speech. We work tirelessly to advocate for better human rights protection in Hong Kong.
The 4 main aspects of our work are: Human Rights Education, Police Use of Powers Monitoring, Policy Advocacy, and Emergency Human Rights Assistance.
Pro Bono Legal Assistance: We provide emergency legal assistance to arrested persons. Since the June of 2019, the pro-bono legal team of Civil Rights Observer has provided legal assistance to 5,974 arrestees, represented 571 persons in legal proceedings, and responded to 8,370 legal enquiries.
Human Rights Documentation: To provide a clearer and more complete picture of the human rights situation in Hong Kong to the public, Civil Rights Observer documents significant incidents and issues based on our first-hand observation and interviews in Hong Kong.
In the past year, Civil Rights Observer has published 9 reports, including 1) Political Screening in Hong Kong: Disqualification of Election Candidates and Legislators (2016-2019); 2) Brief Report on the 31st Anniversary Assembly of the June 4 Incident, and 3) Policing Protests in Hong Kong: Torture & Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. (More reports on: https://www.hkcro.org/latest-report/)
Advocacy Work: Civil Rights Observer actively participates in domestic advocacy works and informs policy on human rights issues. We regularly publish thematic reports on the human rights situation in Hong Kong.
Observer Program: Civil Rights Observer deploys human rights observers to observe and record public assembly, including to monitor whether the police handling of public assembly is in accordance with international human rights standards. We publish reports according to our first-hand finding, including the Report on 612 incidents.
RFA, Hong Kong Textbook Revisions Will Lead to 'Brainwashing,' Teachers Warn, 2020-08-21
VICE Singapore, Hong Kong Media Tycoon Was Arrested Under the National Security Law. What Could Happen to Him Next Is Unclear, 2020-08-11
Reuters, In Hong Kong, young democrats raring to 'resist' as nomination period kicks off for crucial election, 2020-07-20
The Telegraph, Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong launches bid for parliament, 2020-07-20
... and more