Alex Chow and Lester Shum to speak on reform at international summit

By Joyce Ng

The student leaders who headed Occupy movement will be first Hongkongers to give talk at human rights forum

By Joyce Ng |

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(From left) Hong Kong Federation of Students' Council member Nathan Law, Secretary-general Alex Chow and Deputy Secretary-general Lester Shum

Two student leaders of the Occupy movement have been invited to an international human rights summit to speak on Hong Kong's political reform.

Alex Chow Yong-kang, secretary-general of the Federation of Students, and his deputy Lester Shum, have confirmed their attendance at the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy on February 24.

Introducing the duo as "major delegate[s] of the umbrella movement to the only dialogue with the Hong Kong government", the summit's website announced their participation, with their photos promoted on the front page.

The duo will be the first Hongkongers to speak at the forum, organised by a coalition of 20 human rights non-government organisations worldwide ahead of the United Nations Human Rights Council's main annual session, which starts on March 2.

The summit is intended to influence the discussions of the UN session which are dominated by governments.

Chow said he would be speaking on the restrictive framework laid down by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August for the city's chief executive election.

"We will talk about the right to participate in public affairs and politics, and we'll also touch on the state obligations from the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration," Chow, from the University of Hong Kong, said.

Several speakers from China have been invited to the summit in the past, including Tibetan and Uygur dissidents. This year, blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng , who escaped and went into exile in the United States, is also invited.

Noting his participation may displease mainland authorities, Chow said: "It is important to let the outside world know what is happening in Hong Kong."

Chow had his travel document to the mainland revoked last year when he and two other federation members attempted to take a flight to Beijing to seek a meeting with officials on reform.

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