ADHRRF – The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) refuses to accept the petition letters calling for inclusion in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) the control of riot-control agents (RCAs). Hongkonger organizers said they will not abandon their petitions.
On November 25, state members of the OPCW held the annual conference at the headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. About 50 Netherland-based Hong Kongers and supporters of HK democratic movement gathered outside the building. Holding two petition letters and signs with slogans of supporting Hong Kong, participants called on the OPCW to focus on HK police’s excessive use of tear gas to disperse protesters in the past few months and its detrimental effect to the health of Hong Kong people.
Last week, the OPCW had reportedly confirmed that its official would meet the organizers and accept their petition letters. However, the OPCW changed its mind out of sudden on the night before the gathering, saying they were unable to receive any materials from the organizer’s group, which greatly disappointed the petitioners .
The Netherlands for Hong Kong, a Hongkonger community in the Netherlands, organized this event and one of its representatives said in his interview with our reporter, “The incident in the past few months in Hong Kong has shown that without proper guidance, excessive and uncontrolled use of these agents is very detrimental, and it can have a long-lasting detrimental effect to the society, environment, and health, well-being of civilians. So we’re here, [having] collected more than 100,000 signatures on two separate petitions, urging the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, urging the representatives from the member parties, from the member states to raise the concern and amend the Chemical Weapons Convention and include regulations and guidelines for using riot-control agents domestically.”
Since the outbreak of the anti-extradition movement in June 2019, Hong Kong police have fired over 10,000 tear gas canisters to disperse protesters, which have deeply afflicted Hong Kong people and put their health at severe risk. HK citizens and international communities have sharply condemned HK police, but the persecution still continues. It is reported that HK police have recently turned to the use of China-made tear gas canisters with stronger toxins.
On the day of the event, many participants showed their concern for the current situation in Hong Kong. A lady from HK said that the deploying of tear gas is seriously affecting the lives of all Hongkongers; a frontline reporter is suffering from chloracne and the safety of street workers is also worrisome. She appealed to OPCW for guidelines and restrictions on the usage and decontamination strategy of tear gas.
Zhou Jing (alias), a Christian from The Church of Almighty God (CAG) in support of HK democratic movement, told our reporter that she hopes the international communities can take action to stop HK police’s atrocities and save HK.
A Christian who fled to the Netherlands due to the persecution of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) expressed her wish for the early realization of democracy and freedom in HK.
During the gathering, the organizers, accompanied by police officers, tried again to communicate with the OPCW, hoping its Technical Secretariat could accept the petitions. But the security personnel refused their request, saying they have strict orders not to receive anything from the organizers, who expressed their deep regret for that and their determination to work on the petition.
Netizens speculate that the OPCW’s sudden change of decision and refusal to accept the petitions is probably linked to the recent donation of 30,000 USD made by the Chinese government to build its new laboratories and that the CCP influence has infiltrated the OPCW.
The OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention that promotes the prohibition and elimination of chemical weapons by means of onsite inspections, etc. The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.” China is one of its member states.