#DissentingHero Drew Pavlou: Advocating Human Rights for All

Our dissenting hero for this week, Drew Pavlou, believes that the protection and promotion of human rights should be a concern of all and that we must always raise our voices against injustices wherever they occur.

“[M]any people have asked me what business is it of yours as an Australian how the Chinese Communist Party treats the Tibetans, Uyghurs and Hong Kongers. Then I remind people of the universal nature of human rights. These rights don’t end at the border.”

Drew Pavlou, 21, is an Australian human rights and democracy activist. He is a philosophy student and senate member at The University of Queensland. In May this year, he was suspended from his university for alleged misconduct that was connected to his on-campus activism against human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese Party-state.

“We believe in the oneness of humanity. Just by being born, a person is entitled to certain rights and protections. They are entitled to dignity. They are entitled to be free from persecution and fear. Free from the fear of torture, violence, rape all cruelties that the Chinese Communist Party inflicts on the people of Tibet, the Uighurs, the people of Hong Kong that’s why it is our concern. That is why I protest.” 

At one of the first protests he organised in June last year to protest Chinese actions in Hong Kong and persecution of Uyghurs, some 200 pro-CCP agents violently attacked Drew and fellow group of 20 student protesters sparking off international outcry and allegations that the University of Queensland was suppressing dissent and activism in deference to Beijing.

Drew Pavlou joins the #whyprotest campaign to call on China to immediately

  • End policies and practices that are incompatible with international human rights standards on the right to peaceful assembly;
  • Repeal policy of resorting to lethal force to suppress and detain peaceful protesters;
  • Punish government officers responsible for arbitrary detention and torture of peaceful protesters;
  • Ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Convention on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance;
  • Invite UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association to assess the current state of freedom of peaceful assembly in Tibet.

The #WhyProtest campaign, launched by TCHRD on 3 May to highlight freedom of expression, shines light on the brave and inspiring stories of peaceful protesters that will tear through the cloak of coronavirus pandemic used by China to hide escalating repression and persecution of peaceful dissent in Tibet.

During the months leading up to this year’s International Human Rights Day on 10 December, the campaign will feature messages of hope, inspiration, and defiance from 30 activists and human rights defenders.

Join the #WhyProtest Campaign by sharing our digital campaign messages on your timeline or your stories of defending the right to protest and why the freedom to dissent matters to you. If interested, write to Ms Tenzin Dawa for further information: [email protected].


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