ARTICLE 19 is calling for the Hong Kong authorities to uphold the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly during the growing pro-democracy protests.
“The call for protesters to stop immediately is clearly intended to violate their right to free speech”
Tens of thousands of people have taken to the street in the last few days to protest Beijing’s broken promise for democratic elections by 2017.
Despite the protests being peaceful, there have been dozens of arrests, riot police have been deployed and pepper spray used against the protesters.
Thomas Hughes Executive Director of ARTICLE 19 said:
“We are alarmed at the heavy-handed and frankly disproportionate response to what has been a peaceful, lawful, pro-democracy protest.
“Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung’s call for protesters to stop immediately is clearly intended to violate their right to free speech and avoid growing criticism. ”
“The authorities’ role is to facilitate peaceful protest, not to intimidate those who have every right to exercise their views. We are also calling for those who have been arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly be immediately released.
“The Hong Kong authorities must uphold their obligations under international human rights law, respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, and ensure the protests, which are expected to increase in size in the next few days, are allowed to proceed peacefully.”
“ARTICLE 19 and civil society are watching to see the response.”