18th November 2019
Dear Hong Kong public,
In light of the comments on Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) about our alleged lack of response in Hong Kong situation today, we would like to share our thoughts with you.
MSF team is liaising with local medical networks and sharing our expertise on emergency medical response to facilitate them to adapt to the rapidly changing context in Hong Kong.
We are deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Hong Kong in the past weeks. It is vital that medical neutrality is preserved and duty of care of medics are respected, and patients have unhindered access to medical care at all times.
Our operational decision is based on the evaluation of our assessment team, led by a veteran medical doctor. The team has been liaising, and continuously, with medical networks, first aid responders, and organisations since the beginning of the unrest to ensure that we are alerted with the medical needs and gaps as the context evolves.
What we have learned from our assessments is that there has been immense support amongst Hong Kong local responders and the resources and capacity to help is significant.
It is clear that what is happening here is difficult for Hong Kong people. MSF values your opinion and we hear your frustrations. It is truly a tough period for Hong Kong people, and also a challenging time for MSF during the past months.
We understand that you may feel disappointed towards us. It’s not an easy decision for us, too. We are also aware, based on series of internal discussions and debates, that we may be perceived indifferent as a result. However, as an international medical humanitarian organisation we need to be consistent on demonstrating our actions based on independent assessment of needs, no matter how unsatisfactory the result is.
What we have been striving for is that our action today in Hong Kong is entirely consistent with how we work in many other difficult places where lives are at stake in very inhumane settings.
Our commitment to all our donors around the world, including the people of Hong Kong who have been giving to us for years, is that we will ensure we remain steadfast in our principles – that we will take no sides, we will be impartial in providing medical aid, and we will be financially independent so that we could help populations in danger where the needs are greatest, free from political influence.
Rest assured, that MSF remain committed to act where the unmet needs are.
Executive Director, MSF Hong Kong