聯合國《世界人權宣言》第18條《公民及政治權利公約》第18條明確保障宗教自由；聯合國人權事務委員會在《第22號一般性意見》（General Comment №22）中闡釋「思想、良心和宗教自由」（《公民權利和政治權利國際公約》第18條）時指出，人「以禮拜、戒律、躬行及講授表示其宗教或信仰之自由」，當中「禮拜」所包含的，不只是指涉禮儀行動，更包括宗教場所（第4段）。是以保護宗教場所的完整和安全，是保障宗教信仰自由不可也缺的一部分。香港《基本法》和《人權法》，亦按國際標準，保障宗教信仰自由。但今日香港警察的行徑，不單相違國際準則，也反映香港警察的野蠻。
Today at 4.30pm, the Hong Kong police targeted Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre with water cannon in Nathan Road, and shot at the Mosque as well as the people outside. Mohan Chugani, the former Chairman of Indian Association, a member of UNISON, pro-democracy lawmaker Jeremy Tam and several citizens were injured and sent to hospital now. We send our best regard to them who stood outside and protect the Mosque, and condemn the police use of water cannon against the Mosque.
As we found in the videos from media sources, there were only few people outside the Mosque. It is totally unnecessary to disperse the crowd by using water cannon. However, the police officers did not consider the circumstance as well as the dignity of the place of religious worship. The use of water cannon caused injuries of citizens and damaged the Mosque. It demonstrates the police officers are abusing their power and force to insult place of religious worship, and thus put social harmony at risk.
Respect for religion and their places of worship is a fundamental civic virtue and common sense in civilised society. It is not the first instance of police humiliating religious practice in Hong Kong. On 12 June 2019, when the police officers cleaned up the protest site outside Legislative Council Complex, one police officers quarrelled with a protestant minister and attempted to provoke him by saying “ask Jesus coming down to meet us”.
The UN Declaration of Human Rights and the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights protects the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion (article 18). Furthermore, according to the CCPR General Comment (no.22) on ICCPR Article 18, “the concept of worship extends to ritual and ceremonial acts giving direct expression to belief, as well as various practices integral to such acts, including the building of places of worship” (para. 4). To protect the integrity of places of religious worship is an essential part to protect right to freedom of religion. The Hong Kong Basic Law as well as Bill of Rights Ordinance guarantees right to freedom of religion in accordance with the international standard. However, the police action today certainly violate the international norms, and reflect its barbaric character.
Religious diversity and harmony are basis of society of civilisation and freedom. We regret for Hong Kong police’s lack of common sense and insensitivity to religion. We ask the Police Commissioner to give sincere apology to the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, religious communities and Hong Kong society.
Civil Human Rights Front
Dated on 20th October 2019