The World Youth Movement for Democracy (WYMD) condemns the decision of Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal to imprison activists Nathan Law, Joshua Wong and Alex Chow, and thirteen other activists, for enjoying their human rights by organizing the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protests in 2014.
We are calling Hong Kong’s government to drop these charges and ensure its citizens have freedom of expression, association and right to peaceful protests.
After China’s Central Government took higher influence on Hong Kong’s elections in 2014, the Umbrella Movement was formed with the aim of expressing disagreement over decisions that undermine citizen will, and to ask for autonomy in accordance with Hong Kong’s Basic Law. Protests lasted for 79 days, and were known for their blockade of Hong Kong’s business district and the umbrellas protesters used to shield themselves from tear gas. After the protests, a group of protest leaders formed a political party and Nathan Law got elected in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council.
They were punished and sentenced to community work. After prosecution’s appeal, the Court of Appeal issued a new ruling, increasing the sentence to six, seven and eight months in prison. The ruling also includes a ban from holding public office in the next five years, which further barred the activists from exercising their fundamental rights.
WYMD, as a network that aims to support the development of sustainable democracy movements globally, supports the Network of Young Democratic Asians (NOYDA) in their demand for Hong Kong’s government to drop charges, and invites activists to offer their support by signing their petition.
We will continue to support human rights activists and work on amplifying voices of citizens who demand full respect of their fundamental rights.