At FORUM-ASIA, we employ a range of strategies to effectively achieve our goals and create a lasting impact.

Through a diverse array of approaches, FORUM-ASIA is dedicated to achieving our objectives and leaving a lasting imprint on human rights advocacy.

Who we work with

Our interventions are meticulously crafted and ready to enact tangible change, addressing pressing issues and empowering communities.

Each statements, letters, and publications are meticulously tailored, poised to transform challenges into opportunities, and to empower communities towards sustainable progress.

Multimedia Stories

With a firm commitment to turning ideas into action, FORUM-ASIA strives to create lasting change that leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

Explore our dedicated sub-sites to witness firsthand how FORUM-ASIA turns ideas into action, striving to create a legacy of lasting positive change for future generations.

Subscribe our monthly e-newsletter

[Statement] Hong Kong: Measures on national security continue to dismantle remaining pro-democracy voices

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is deeply concerned over the arrests of six individuals in Hong Kong on 28 May 2024 under the newly enacted Safeguarding National Security Ordinance or “Article 23.”

This marked the first time the police used Article 23 to make arrests since its adoption on 19 March 2024. The six were charged under Section 24 of the law in relation to seditious intent.

Authorities alleged that since April 2024, the arrested group has used anonymous accounts to post content that “incited hatred” towards the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and the judiciary. In addition, they were accused of encouraging others to organise and participate in “illegal activities.” The police have raided the homes of five arrestees, seizing electronic communication devices allegedly used for disseminating “seditious messages.”

If found guilty, the group could face up to seven years in prison.

Among the arrestees is activist Tonyee Chow Hang-tung, who used to organise annual vigils commemorating the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre. Despite being detained under the Beijing-imposed National Security Law since September 2021 at the Tai Lam Centre for Women, Chow was still accused of continuously publishing anonymous “seditious” Facebook posts.


Attacks against pro-democracy activists

Two days after the arrests, the Hong Kong Magistrate Court convicted 14 pro-democracy activists and found them guilty of subversion due to their involvement in an unofficial primary election in 2020.

The activists were accused of undermining the government’s authority and creating a constitutional crisis.

The said unofficial primary election was intended to shortlist pro-democracy candidates for the official election held in 2020.

The 14 pro-democracy activists were among the 47 charged under the Beijing-imposed National Security Law in 2021. Among them were former lawmakers Leung Kwok-hung and Helena Wong; journalist-turned-campaigner Gwyneth Ho; and ordinary Hong Kongers, such as a nurse who participated in mass protests in 2019.

“These arrests and convictions are examples of how governments make use of judicial harassment to stifle dissent. These incidents are yet another blow to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Hong Kong, underscoring the broad scope and stringent enforcement of national security laws,” said Mary Aileen Diez-Bacalso, Executive Director of FORUM-ASIA, “There is an urgent need for coordinated action among democracies.”

The arrests and convictions occurred just a few days before the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and massacre. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk expressed that Article 23 and the 2020 National Security Law “do not comply with China’s obligations under international human rights law and, in particular, those with respect to Hong Kong under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”


Call to Action

“FORUM-ASIA calls on the Hong Kong Government to cease its use of vague national security laws to suppress peaceful dissent. We call on the government to restore Hong Kong’s once vibrant civil society,” said Diez-Bacalso. 

Likewise, we urge the government to align its laws with international human rights standards and to respect the rights of all citizens to voice their opinions without fear of persecution.

FORUM-ASIA calls on the Hong Kong Government to repeal Article 23 and the 2020 National Security Law. We also demand the immediate release of all individuals arbitrarily detained under these laws.

“The international community must pay attention and continuously monitor the human rights situation in Hong Kong, which has been unprecedentedly declining,” said Diez-Bacalso.





The Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA) is a network of 85 member organisations across 23 countries, mainly in Asia. Founded in 1991, FORUM-ASIA works to strengthen movements for human rights and sustainable development through research, advocacy, capacity development and solidarity actions in Asia and beyond. It has consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and consultative relationship with the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights. The FORUM-ASIA Secretariat is based in Bangkok, with offices in Jakarta, Geneva and Kathmandu.

For media inquiries, please contact: