Human Rights First Honors Hong Kong Human Rights Defender Albert Ho with Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award
Hong Kong lawyer and advocate has been a leading figure in the pro-democracy movement
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First announced today that it will award the 2020 Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty to Hong Kong human rights defender Albert Ho. The award will be presented on December 10th in a virtual event that will include a conversation between Ho and Human Rights First Senior Advisor Brian Dooley.
Albert Ho is a veteran Hong Kong lawyer and advocate whose career in human rights and political activism stretches back almost four decades. A leading figure in the pro-democracy movement for many years, he remains prominent in the protest movement that energized Hong Kong in 2019 and 2020.
“No dictatorship is too big or too strong to take on,” said Vladimir Vladimir Kara-Murza, Senior Advisor for Human Rights Accountability at Human Rights First and 2020 Baldwin Award jury member. “This decision shows who is right and wrong, and Albert Ho is in the right. There are no lost causes, and the cause of democracy in China is not lost.”
Ho is now facing a dozen charges related to those peaceful protests and his law firm continues to represent many others who have protest-related charges.
“I’m honored to accept this award,” said Ho, “but I do it on behalf of many colleagues who have shared the case of human rights in Hong Kong with me for so many years.”
Ho is the co-founder and senior partner of Ho, Tse, Wai and Partners (HTW), a Hong Kong law firm renown for advocacy on landmark human rights cases. Ho and HTW have represented many arrested pro-democracy protestors and challenged many of the Hong Kong government’s dubious actions, such as the banning of face masks under a colonial-era law and the disqualification of numerous pro-democracy lawmakers.
Ho has also done extensive advocacy for human rights lawyers in mainland China. He founded the China Human Rights Lawyers Concern Group in 2007 to provide humanitarian assistance to detained human rights lawyers and their families, advocate on behalf of detained lawyers, and share knowledge and experience with Chinese lawyers.
Despite surveillance and threats by Chinese authorities, Ho has maintained his steadfast support for his peers in mainland China in the face of the government’s crackdown on human rights lawyers, the “709 crackdown” known for the day it began – July 9, 2015. Placing the pursuit of justice before his own safety, Ho continues to raise awareness of the plight of human rights lawyers in China to see that the world holds the Chinese Communist Party accountable for human rights abuses.
The Baldwin Medal of Liberty is named in honor of Roger N. Baldwin, principal founder of both the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the International League for Human Rights. The award, which was established in 1989, is presented in alternating years by Human Rights First, which awards international human rights advocates, and the ACLU, which awards advocates in the United States. Past honorees include The Mwantana Organization for Human Rights in Yemen (2018), Janvier Murairi Bakihanaye, an anti-slavery activist from the Democratic Republic of Congo (2016), Kholoud Saber Barakat an Egyptian activist (2014), and the Bahrain Center for Human Rights (2012).
The 2020 Baldwin Jury was comprised of prominent activists and members of the legal and business communities, including Robert A. Mandell, Former Ambassador to Luxembourg; Adrian Arena, director of the Oak Foundation’s International Human Rights Programme; Diana Daniels, independent trustee of the Goldman Sachs Mutual Funds; Emily Martinez, director of the Open Society Human Rights Initiative; Lesley Carson, director of the International Human Rights Program at Wellspring Philanthropic Fund; Ozlem Dalkiran, human rights defender from Turkey, currently based in Dublin with the NGO Front Line Defenders; Paul Model, Vice President and Treasurer of the Leo Model Foundation; 2018 Baldwin award winner Radhya Almutawakel, a human rights defender and the Yemeni co-founder and chairperson of Mwatana for Human Rights; and Vladimir Kara-Murza, a Russian activist, former opposition leader, filmmaker, and senior advisor at Human Rights First.