Riot police fire teargas to disperse protesters after thousands demonstrated in the main street to the financial Central district.

© 2014 Reuters

(New York) – Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung should urgently assure the public of their rights to peaceful assembly and expression in advance of his deadline that city streets be cleared by October 6, 2014, Human Rights Watch said in a public letter today.

Human Rights Watch urged Leung to take three steps to meet Hong Kong’s compliance with international human rights law: ensure that security forces abide by the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms; ensure maximum respect for ongoing peaceful demonstrations; and swiftly investigate and fairly prosecute all those responsible for violence, including sexual assault, against protesters.

“C.Y. Leung needs to act urgently or confidence in the Hong Kong government’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law will be deeply compromised,” said Sophie Richardson, China director. “Leung has considerable authority to ensure peaceful outcomes that accommodate the views of many in Hong Kong, but will he use it?”