正視政府遷總部銷毁大量檔案事件要求政府即時停止銷毀及公開交代/Stop Destruction of Public Records Enact Archives Law
Stop Destruction of Public Records
Enact Archives Law
We are a group of scholars, journalists, professionals, legislators, and NGOs who constantly resort to government records for our work. We are extremely concerned and distressed by the Hong Kong SAR government’s recent decision and action to hastily destroy millions of records ahead of the relocation to Tamar. We consider this an act of disaster, and a deliberate attempt by our officials to escape future judgment for their misdeed by wiping out evidence as contained in the records.
Government records not only provide an essential research material for historians and scholars, they are also indispensable to government officials in policy deliberation and review in order to ensure good governance, improve policy making and to learn from their mistakes. For civil servants, the proper management and preservation of records generated by them as a result of official activities provide evidence of their business, and serve as a constant reminder that they must, at all times, act prudently and properly for the people they serve.
To journalists, legislators, and NGOs, government records are important evidence revealing possible flaws in certain policies and their execution. Proper records keeping is essential to ensuring accountability, all lies will eventually be exposed in front of the impartiality of records.
To the average citizens, government records help establish identities, safeguard their rights and make sure that their government is working in their best interest.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong is one of the rare exceptions that still lack an archives law to protect government records. The Government Records Service has no legal authority to monitor and regulate how civil servants handle records. The recent destruction of millions of records discloses the general apathy of the Hong Kong people in the issue and the helplessness of the public in scrutinizing the management of government records. If we do not address this problem immediately, countless important records will continue to be mishandled, damaged, lost or forever destroyed.
As professionals, the gravity and urgency of this problem move us to sign the following petition to call on the Hong Kong Government to:-
1) make public the list (including nature and subject matters) of records destroyed recently in connection with the Tamar move,
2) Clarify for the public the rationale behind the destruction, the involvement of Government Records Service and the procedures followed in this destruction disaster,
3) stop destroying government records forthwith before the issue is resolved by more public debate,
4) set up as soon as possible an independent committee comprising scholars, records and archives specialists, etc to monitor and approve all records destruction requests from bureaux and departments in the future,
5) seriously attend to the proper management and preservation of public records and legislate for an archives law as a matter of priority.
We urge the Legislative Council to intervene as a matter of urgency and establish an independent committee of professionals to formulate for us a plan of action for the proper management and long term preservation of government records.
Archives Action Group
Hong Kong Archives Society
Public Records Concern Group
Central and Western Concern Group
The Professional Commons