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Hong Kong

    July 09, 2019

    Responding to remarks by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday that the controversial Extradition Bill is “dead” and that there would be no high-level independent investigation into the recent policing of protests, Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said:

    “Carrie Lam’s refusal to acknowledge the consequences of the fatal flaws of the Extradition Bill continues to inflame the situation in Hong Kong. It is long overdue for her to give an unequivocal commitment that the Extradition Bill, which poses a real threat to human rights, will be withdrawn for good.

    “The excessive use of force by police on 12 June was a violation of international law and standards. To be fair to everyone involved, there must be an independent, impartial, effective and prompt investigation into the actions by police on 12 June. Anything else, including an IPCC enquiry that falls short of what is needed, will not help to establish truth and accountability and regain public trust. Police officers responsible, including senior officers in command on 12 June, must face justice.”

    Notes to editors

    June 26, 2019

    ©Rainbow Ng

    DOWNLOAD PDF OF UA 191 HONG KONG HERE

    On 10 June 2019, lawmaker Tanya Chan was sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment for using a loudspeaker to urge participants to join the 2014 Hong Kong pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protest. Tanya Chan is one of nine protest leaders who have been convicted of vague and ambiguous “public nuisance” related charges, four of which were sentenced to imprisonment. Their conviction and sentencing set a dangerous precedent, paving the way for the Hong Kong government to use vague and ambiguous charges for blanket prosecution and imprisonment of peaceful protesters.

    June 21, 2019
    Amnesty International examined incidents of unnecessary and excessive use of force during 12 June protest Restraint urged in policing of upcoming protests Police must be held to account for unlawful use of force

    Hong Kong police must end the unlawful use of force against peaceful protesters who have once again taken to the streets on Friday, Amnesty International said, as it published details of verified instances of unnecessary and excessive use of force by police on 12 June.

    Experts in policing and digital verification examined in detail footage of 14 incidents of apparent police violence. All verified incidents were filmed during the 12 June protest, which saw tens of thousands of people take part in a largely peaceful demonstration against the Hong Kong government’s proposed extradition bill.

    June 12, 2019

    In response to the use of force against largely peaceful protestors by Hong Kong police, who used tear gas, guns firing bean bags and rubber bullets, batons and pepper spray to disperse a demonstration against the extradition bill in central Hong Kong on Wednesday, Man-Kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:

    “The ugly scenes of police using tear gas and pepper spray against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters is a violation of international law. Police have a duty to maintain public order, but in doing so they may use force only when strictly necessary. Hong Kong’s police have today failed to live up to this standard.

    “The police have taken advantage of the violent acts of a small minority as a pretext to use excessive force against the vast majority of peaceful protesters.

    “Tear gas and projectiles like rubber bullets are notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate and can result in serious injury and even death. They should only ever be used in a targeted response to specific acts of violence and never to disperse peaceful protesters.

    April 24, 2019

    Four leaders of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests jailed today for their role in the 2014 peaceful protests must be immediately and unconditionally set free and have their convictions overturned, Amnesty International said.

    The pro-democracy activists were given jail terms ranging from eight to 16 months in prison at West Kowloon Magistrates’ Courts.

    Among the eight protesters sentenced were the co-founders of the “Occupy Central” campaign – legal scholar Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting and sociologist Professor Chan Kin-man, who each received 16 months’ imprisonment. The other two activists jailed are political party leader Raphael Wong and lawmaker Shiu Ka-chun, each sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.

    February 28, 2019

    The Hong Kong authorities must not return two sisters to Saudi Arabia where their lives would be in grave danger, Amnesty International said.

    The women, who are aged 18 and 20 and are known as Reem and Rawan, fled Saudi Arabia after suffering repeated beatings by male family members and being treated “like slaves”. They arrived in Hong Kong last September when trying to reach Australia. They were blocked from continuing their journey by Saudi consular agents at Hong Kong International Airport. The sisters subsequently learned that their passports had been revoked, making it impossible for them to extend their visas to remain in Hong Kong.

    The sisters have been allowed to stay in Hong Kong as “tolerated” overstayers. That period of toleration is set to expire on 28 February. Hong Kong authorities could extend the period of toleration, which would allow the women to explore third country resettlement options.

    August 27, 2018

    In response to reports that two members of Hong Kong pro-democracy party Demosistō were detained and interrogated by Chinese state security officials when visiting mainland China in separate incidents in March and August 2018, Joyce Chiang, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:

    “This is a chilling attempt by state security officials in mainland China to silence Hong Kong activists and stop them from participating in civil society organizations. Individuals should not have to live in fear of being detained and tortured when visiting mainland China simply for peacefully exercising their rights in Hong Kong.

    “The Hong Kong authorities now need to show they are prepared to defend Hong Kong’s freedom of expression and freedom of association in the face of pressure from the mainland government, including for those who are critical of the government. The Hong Kong government must be unequivocal in calling for an investigation into these serious allegations. Any failure to do so would lead to the further erosion of the rights to freedom of expression and association in Hong Kong.”

    Background

    July 04, 2018

    In response to the ruling by Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal upholding as unlawful the government’s refusal to issue a dependant visa to a woman in a same-sex civil partnership, Jan Wetzel, Senior Legal Advisor at Amnesty International, said: 

    “This judgment is a milestone for Hong Kong and a watershed moment for the rights of LGBTI people across Asia. It recognizes that same-sex couples legally married or in civil partnerships overseas should be able to live with their partners in the same way as opposite-sex couples.

    “The Court of Final Appeal has sent a clear message that the government must respect the right to equality in its policies, including when it comes to immigration. 

    "The government must now follow up and end the discrimination same-sex couples face in all walks of life. It must also swiftly introduce comprehensive legislation against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. No one should experience discrimination because of who they are, or who they love.” 

    Background

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    February 06, 2018

    In response to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal overturning the jail sentences for three prominent pro-democracy activists, Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:

    “The Court of Final Appeal has today corrected an injustice. The government’s vengeful pursuit of harsher sentences led to the trio being jailed and it is right this has now been overturned.

    “All politically motivated prosecutions aimed at silencing those promoting democracy in Hong Kong must be dropped. The government’s unyielding stance is having a chilling effect on the human rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.”

    Background

    In August 2017, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal handed Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law between six and eight months in prison for their roles in a demonstration that helped spark the city’s 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. The trio were released on bail in October and November 2017 pending their appeal.

    September 26, 2017

    The Hong Kong government must drop prosecutions aimed at having a chilling effect on freedom of expression in the city, Amnesty International said ahead of the third anniversary of the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

    Three years on from the start of the unprecedented 79-day protest in late 2014, scores of protesters, who were arrested for their involvement in the largely peaceful protests, remain in legal limbo, uncertain if they will face charges.

    “Three years since the Umbrella Movement protests, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over Hong Kong. The government’s stance is having a chilling effect on peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

    “The government must drop prosecutions which have the effect of deterring people from participating in peaceful protests, particularly on sensitive issues such as Hong Kong’s autonomy and democracy. The authorities’ continued obfuscation has left protesters in legal limbo and is detrimental to human rights in Hong Kong.”

    Chilling effect

    August 17, 2017
    The Hong Kong authorities’ relentless pursuit of jail terms for three leaders of the pro-democracy movement is a vindictive attack on freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, Amnesty International said.   On Thursday, Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal handed Joshua Wong, Alex Chow and Nathan Law between six and eight months in prison for their roles in a demonstration that helped spark the city’s 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement. Prosecutors pursued harsher punishments for the trio, after they were originally given non-custodial sentences at their first trial a year ago.   “The relentless and vindictive pursuit of student leaders using vague charges smacks of political payback by the authorities,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.   “The real danger to the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Hong Kong is the authorities’ continued persecution of prominent democracy activists. Prosecutions aimed at deterring participation in peaceful protests must be dropped.”  
    July 14, 2017
      Responding to a Hong Kong court decision today to disqualify four pro-democracy lawmakers for failing to sincerely take the oath of office, Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, commented:   “Today’s decision confirms the Hong Kong government’s agenda to silence and effectively punish any speech critical of the present political system, wherever it may occur, even within the legislature. It is the latest damaging sign that expressing political opinions that challenge the status quo are no longer tolerated. By bringing these cases, the Hong Kong government only reinforces the impression that they are mere puppets of Beijing.”
    June 29, 2017
    President Xi to visit Hong Kong to mark 20th anniversary of handover to China. Reports of freedom of expression restricted to avoid “embarrassing” criticism of Chinese government during President Xi’s visit.

    Hong Kong’s political leaders must show they are prepared to fiercely resist pressure from President Xi Jinping to further erode human rights in the city, Amnesty International said, as the Chinese President arrived to mark the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China.

    “Hong Kong’s political leaders need to step up and show they won’t bend to Beijing’s pressure. They must be prepared to defend the city’s cherished human rights and freedoms and the rule of law that were guaranteed as part of the handover deal,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

    Carrie Lam, who will be sworn in as Hong Kong’s new chief executive this weekend, has so far shown no appetite to stand up to Beijing when it comes to human rights.

    There are reports banners critical of the Chinese government will be removed by police during President’s Xi visit to avoid causing “embarrassment”.

    April 27, 2017
    The arrest of nine Hong Kong pro-democracy activists is the latest sign the authorities are intent on punishing dissenting voices about the future political status of the city, Amnesty International said. Police arrested the nine people involved in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement on Thursday morning. They are reported to face charges of public disorder and unlawful assembly for their involvement in a largely peaceful protest last November against a central government ruling on Hong Kong’s Basic Law.   "The repeated use of vague charges against prominent figures in Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement reeks of an orchestrated and retaliatory campaign by the authorities to punish those that advocate for democracy in Hong Kong,” said Mabel Au, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.   “The Hong Kong government should be protecting freedom of expression and peaceful assembly but instead it appears intent on intimidating people who are challenging the authorities. Arrests and prosecutions aimed at shutting down participation in peaceful protests must stop.”  

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