HONG KONG: Deep Appreciation for the Life and Work of Dr. Tse Yuen-man

The right to life is at the centre of all human rights, and all efforts of the community should be geared toward its protection and promotion. All medical, nutritional, environmental, educational and legal services of the community should promote and uphold this sublime right to life. The people in the medical profession, particularly those that work to save life, are at the centre of safeguarding people’s right to life. They become living witnesses of the commitment of human beings to the life of others, living symbols of the tremendous respect with which the supremacy of life and its dignity are upheld.

Dr.Tse Yuen-man, like the male nurse Lau Wing-kai and her colleagues who volunteered to fight with one of the most dangerous of known viruses, is among the crucial people defending our right to life. They, together with all of the other frontline health staff members that are fighting to safeguard the right to life of the victims of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, deserve the highest admiration and appreciation of the community. 

It is perhaps pertinent for the community and Hong Kong health care authorities to ask some poignant questions, however, about their commitment to people that work on the front line to safeguard our right to life. Has adequate care being taken to safeguard their lives by providing the necessary protection for them in a timely manner, for instance? This is a vexing question that needs to be answered if our appreciation of their efforts is to make any sense.

While giving our highest respect to the spirit of selflessness of our medical officers, their rights to adequate protection, rest, access to updated information, participation in decision-making and family contacts must not be forgotten and rather actively guaranteed. A safer and humane environment for medical officers as well as for patients to fight against this fatal disease must be ensured. Limitation of resources should not be the reason to disregards these rights. The Hong Kong government and the Hospital Authority should actively review the situation of these rights in the hospitals and make efforts to ensure their realization.

If there is anything positive that one can say about the SARS crisis in Hong Kong though, it is the way in which the local medical profession has responded on the front lines of this deadly and unknown disease. They have won the respect of the community for their dedication to their profession and for their willingness to serve others and uphold people’s right to life in spite of putting themselves in danger. SARS, and the response of our health care workers, have taught all of us what is truly precious and valuable in life—life itself. It is a lesson that the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) hopes will not soon be forgotten when SARS becomes part of the history of Hong Kong.


Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC, Hong Kong

Asian Human Rights Commission – AHRC
Unit 4, 7th Floor, Mongkok Commercial Centre
16 Argyle Street, Kowloon
Hong Kong SAR, CHINA
Tel: +(852) 2698-6339
Fax:+(852) 2698-6367
E-mail: ahrchk@ahrchk.org
Web site: ahrchk.net

For media contacts after office hours, please contact through: +(852) 26969130 (Basil Fernando) or +(852) 92505990 (Sanjeewa Liyanage)

Document Type : Statement
Document ID : AS-15-2003
Countries : China,