UK’s religious and faith leaders call on Raab to take action in Hong Kong

Wednesday, December 25, 2019 12:04 PM

Press Release

For immediate use

23rd December 2019 (Updated 25th December 2019)

UK’s religious and faith leaders call on Raab to take action in Hong Kong

Religious and faith leaders and organisations across the UK have signed a bold letter to Dominic Raab and Boris Johnson. They urge the UK government to stand with Hong Kong. Signatories include a former Archbishop of Canterbury, the Chief Executive of Humanists UK and the Catholic Union are among religious and belief leaders who have come together to stand with Hong Kong. Together with 28 other signatories, these leaders have signed a letter urging the Prime Minister and Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to urgently ensure the lives and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong are protected. In her speech this week, the Queen announced her government will tackle human rights abuses abroad. It’s time the Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab met their duties under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Hong Kong is a city in turmoil. Over the past 6 months, the people of Hong Kong have endured suppression of their basic freedoms and human rights in their fight for justice and democracy. Hongkongers are routinely subjected to police brutality and state repression, and up to 88% of the population has been exposed to tear gas.

Religious leaders and Hongkongers share a core commitment to human rights and social justice. Leaders have offered their support to amplify the voices of Hongkongers and secure the rights and freedoms promised to them. The letter they have signed was composed by Hong Kong campaign group 'Stand with Hong Kong'.

A spokesperson from Stand with Hong Kong commented on this letter: “Religious and belief leaders stand united with us and the people of Hong Kong. Their ideas, being rooted in a belief of justice amplifies our dedication to democracy and freedom”.

Their letter reads:

Dear Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,

We are leaders and members of religious and freedom of belief organisations and we stand collectively with Hong Kong. We strive to uphold human rights, individual liberty, protection from violence and the rule of law: the fundamental principles that Hongkongers face losing in their fight for freedom. We stand with them and urge you to do the same.

The UK government has so far stood back and hoped the crisis in Hong Kong will simply resolve itself. But hoping is not good enough. We need this government to take concrete action, rather than just “speaking up” for the people of Hong Kong who are suffering during this unrest.

When the UK government signed the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, it agreed to protect Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and fundamental freedoms until 2047. Britain is failing that legal, historical and moral duty. In view of the severe erosion of the way of life in Hong Kong, the government should consider expanding the rights of British National (Overseas) passport holders, offering safe refuge in the UK to Hongkongers, and sanctioning individuals from China and Hong Kong who are responsible for or complicit in human rights violations during this political crisis.

Given the increasing persecution and imprisonment of Christians and the demolition of churches in China, the internment of more than a million Uighur Muslims, the continued oppression of Tibetan Buddhists, the banning of liberal freedom of belief NGOs, and the suppression of free speech, it is hardly surprising that so many who defend freedom of belief in Hong Kong have been involved so actively in efforts to preserve “two systems, one country.

As representatives of millions of UK citizens who believe in peace, decency and human rights, we believe it is the UK government’s sworn duty to stand with Hong Kong. Please act with urgency to ensure the lives and freedoms of those in Hong Kong are protected.

Thank you.

Signed,

The Right Reverend Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham,

The Right Reverend and Right Honourable, The Lord Williams of Oystermouth, former Archbishop of Canterbury,

Baroness Neuberger,

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of Humanists UK,

Reverend Andrew Dart, Superintendent Minister, Lambeth Methodist Circuit,

Reverend Joanna Jepson,

The Bishop of Coventry,

Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, former Master of the Dominican Order,

The Lord Singh of Wimbledon CBE,

Dr Desmond Biddulph CBE, President The Buddhist Society,

The Right Reverend John Perry, former Bishop of Chelmsford and former Chairman of CSW,

Mervyn Thomas CMG, Founder and Chief Executive of CSW,

Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE,

Reverend Jonathan Aitken,

Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE,

Kyaw Win, Executive Director of Burma Human Rights Network and General Secretary of the Burmese Muslim Association UK,

Reverend Jonathan Aitken,

Nigel Parker, Director The Catholic Union of Great Britain,

Neville Kyrke-Smith, National Director, Aid to the Church in Need,

Fr Damian Howard SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain,

Rabbi Pinter,

Dr Wael Aleji, Association for Middle Eastern Conservatives

Dr Anas Altikriti, CEO, The Cordoba Foundation

Ajmal Masroor, Imam and Broadcaster from London

Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman, Finsbury Park Mosque

Rakhia Ismail, Mayor of London Borough of Islington and community leader

Imam Mersad Krnjic, Imam, Bosnian Community in Birmingham

Dr Abdullah Faliq, CEO, Justice for Rohingya Minority