The Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) scrapped the 2022 Human Rights Press Awards after defunct outlet Stand News was slated to win a number of prizes. It prompted a board member to step down and eight members of the club’s press freedom committee to resign. HKFP showcases work from photographers that were destined to take home a prize – with striking images from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Thailand and Hong Kong. Note: Graphic images below.

Photography (Single) Winner: Wakil Kohsar (AFP)

A US soldier points his gun at an Afghan man at the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war. Thousands of people mobbed the capital’s airport trying to flee the Taliban’s hardline brand of Islamist rule.

Photography (Single) Merit: Galileo Cheng (RFA)

The upper half of Pillar of Shame, a statue commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989, covered in plastic wrap and cloth, was removed from the University of Hong Kong on December 23, 2021 in Hong Kong.

Photography (Series) Winner: Marcus Yam (Los Angeles Times)

A military transport plane flies over relatives and neighbors of the Ahmadi family as they gather around an incinerated husk of a vehicle destroyed by a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. In August, life came to a standstill as the Taliban offensive reached the gates of the Afghan capital, sending it into a panic. President Ashraf Ghani escaped; American-backed Afghan forces pulled back. The Taliban swiftly took over a nation that had changed much since it first ruled two decades ago. Jarring, violent scenes followed, marking a tragic coda to a messy and controversial 20-year occupation. The U.S. was ending its longest war.
A child cries as a man carries a bloodied child on a road leading to Kabul’s airport. Others help a wounded woman on the ground in a scene of chaos as the Taliban secured its grip on the capital while tens of thousands of Afghans raced to the airport, hoping to be evacuated on U.S. military transport planes. Taliban fighters used gunfire, whips, sticks and sharp objects to violently rebuff thousands of Afghans on Aug. 17, 2021. At least a half dozen were wounded, including the woman and child.
A wounded patient lies in the recovery unit at Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 26, 2021. A suicide bomber from the terrorist group ISIS-K struck Kabul airport’s Abbey Gate entrance. The blast ripped through crowds of Afghans and foreign nationals. At least 170 civilians were killed in addition to 13 U.S. service personnel, and at least 200 people were wounded. The explosions complicated an already nightmarish airlift just before the U.S. deadline to remove its troops from the country.
Family members and neighbors of the Ahmadi family gather to examine the wreckage caused by a hellfire missile launched from a U.S. drone that targeted a vehicle parked inside a residential compound in the Khwaja Burgha neighborhood in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 30, 2021. The U.S. military says that the air strike was meant to target ISIS-K militants and retaliate for an airport bombing carried out by the terror group. Instead, it took the lives of 10 civilians Ð members of Emal AhmadiÕs family, including seven children. The U.S. would eventually call the strike a Òtragic mistake.Ó
A military transport plane departs overhead as Afghans hoping to leave the country wait outside the Kabul airport on Aug. 23, 2021. Since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan earlier in August, more than 120,000 people were airlifted out of Afghanistan in one of the largest mass evacuations in U.S. history.
Mourners at a mass funeral look up and weep as the roar of jet engines drown out their wails in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 30, 2021. Fighter jets circled the hilltop cemetery where members of the Ahmadi family were burying 10 of their own Ð seven of them children Ð all victims of a U.S. drone strike. A full day before the U.S. military withdrawal approached its conclusion, death continued to haunt the war-torn country. The airstrike came in the wake of an airport bombing on Aug. 26 carried out by ISIS-K militants. The United States military claimed initially that it was targeting an alleged Islamic extremist who posed the threat of carrying out a similar attack. A month later, it reversed its position, but the Pentagon decided no American troops would be punished. Left to grieve and wonder, Emal Ahmadi could not understand how it could be that a family could die and no one be held accountable.
After the stroke of midnight, Taliban fighters from the Fateh Zwak unit storm into Hamid Karzai International Airport, while wearing American-made uniforms and brandishing American M4 and M16 rifles and riding U.S. pickup trucks on Aug. 31, 2021. For two weeks, Kabul’s airport was the last tether to America’s control in Afghanistan, its runways the site of a frantic airlift that spirited more than 120,000 people out of the country. But there was no more of that frenzied activity on the deadline of the U.S. withdrawal, hours after the last U.S. military transport plane rumbled into the night sky, closing the chapter on a 20-year U.S. intervention that ended the way it began: with the Taliban in control of Afghanistan.
Journalists from the Etilaat Roz newspaper, Nemat Naqdi, 28, left and Taqi Daryabi, 22, undress to show their wounds caused by beatings from Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 8, 2021. The two were tortured while in custody after being arrested for filming a rally for women’s rights. The demonstrations came just one day after the Taliban revealed an all-male interim government made up of stalwarts with zero representation for women or ethnic minority groups – their promise of a more tolerant rule clearly broken. “They didn’t let me resist,” Daryabi said of the brutality he and his colleague suffered. He said he was shoved to the ground, tortured and beaten unconscious. He was taken to a yard and water was poured on him. He was still there when they brought Naqdi. “We were shouting that we are journalists. But they didn’t care,” Naqdi said. “I thought they were going to kill me…They kept on ridiculing us, asking if we were filming them.”

Photography (Series) Merit: Lauren DeCicca

A thai protester is helped by medics after being injured during an anti-government rally at the Din Daeng Intersection on September 12, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Anti-government protesters have continued to hold rallies for weeks, often clashing with police, despite Covid-19 remaining a persistent problem for the country.
A projectile explodes in front of a line of riot police as they try to disperse anti-government protesters on August 07, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Local media reported that the police will deploy at least 5,700 officers to ensure public order and security during Saturday’s anti-government rally in the capital, which was originally scheduled to be held near the Grand Palace, but was changed. Protests have continued in the Thai capital despite record numbers of Covid-19 infections.
An anti-government protester from the Thalugaz protest group runs from a cloud of tear gas on August 07, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Local media reported that the police will deploy at least 5,700 officers to ensure public order and security during Saturday’s anti-government rally in the capital, which was originally scheduled to be held near the Grand Palace, but was changed. Protests have continued in the Thai capital despite record numbers of Covid-19 infections.
Thai anti-government protesters launch paint balloons at Thai police during a rally on September 25, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Anti-government protesters have continued to hold rallies for weeks, often clashing with police, despite Covid-1 cases remaining at worrying levels.
Thousands of anti-government protesters gather for a rally on October 31, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thousands of anti-government protesters gathered at the Ratchaprasong Intersection in central Bangkok to demand the abolishment of Section 112 of the criminal code, which criminalizes defamation, insults and threats to the Thai Monarchy. This is the latest rally in an ongoing anti-government movement which began in 2020.
A Thai pro-democracy protester drags an effigy symbolizing those who were killed during the October 6th Massacre during a memorial event at Thammasat University on October 06, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Thai pro-democracy protesters and others gather at Thammasat University to commemorate those who died on the 45th anniversary of the October 6th Massacre, a violent crackdown by Thai state forces leading to at least 40 student activists being killed and several thousand injured.
Thai pro-democracy protesters light schoolbooks on fire around a student who is tied to a post to symbolize abuse in the Thai school system during a rally at Democracy Monument on September 07, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Anti-government protesters have continued to hold rallies for weeks, often clashing with police, despite Covid-19 cases remaining at record highs.
Thai pro-democracy protesters cheer during a rally at the Asoke Intersection on September 02, 2021 in Bangkok, Thailand. Anti-government protesters have continued to hold rallies for weeks, often clashing with police, despite Covid-19 cases remaining at record highs.

Photography (Series) Merit: The Coup In Myanmar

Photographer’s name withheld for safety reasons.

Protesters waving red flags make three-finger salutes while riding on the back of a pickup truck on February 09, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar declared martial law in parts of the country, including its two largest cities, as massive protests continued to draw people to the streets a week after the country’s military junta staged a coup against the elected National League For Democracy (NLD) government and detained de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas, and water cannon to disperse protesters at demonstrations across the country, and at least two people were in critical condition from the injuries sustained.
Protesters test molotov cocktails on March 16, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s military Junta charged deposed de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi with accepting bribes and taking illegal payments in gold, as it also continued a brutal crackdown on a nationwide civil disobedience movement in which thousands of people have turned out in continued defiance of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Over 80 people have been killed so far according to the U.N.
Protesters shout slogans while carrying red flags on February 07, 2021 in downtown Yangon, Myanmar. Some internet services were restored in Myanmar on Sunday, almost a week after a military coup in which de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained and charged with an obscure import-export law violation, and a day after the military junta abruptly cut internet services and access to social media. Protests continued in the country’s capital as authorities moved to make arrests amid a growing civil disobedience movement.
Riot police arrest anti-coup protesters on February 27, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s military government has intensified a crackdown on protesters in recent days, using tear gas, charging at and arresting protesters and journalists.
Anti-coup protesters use slingshots and pelt stones towards approaching security forces on March 28, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s military Junta continued a brutal crackdown on a nationwide civil disobedience movement in which thousands of people have turned out in continued defiance of live ammunition. Local media and monitoring organizations estimate that over 400 people have been killed since the coup began, including dozens of children and minors.
The wife (2nd from left) and a sister (2nd from right) of Chit Min Thu, 25, who was killed in clashes, cry during his funeral at the family’s home on March 11, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s military Junta charged deposed de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi with accepting bribes and taking illegal payments in gold, as it also continued a brutal crackdown on a nationwide civil disobedience movement in which thousands of people have turned out in continued defiance of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition.
The body of Kyaw Htet Aung, 19, who was shot and killed in the night by the security forces, lies at his home during his funeral in Dala township on March 27, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s military Junta continued a brutal crackdown on a nationwide civil disobedience movement in which thousands of people have turned out in continued defiance of live ammunition. Local news sources and witnesses said over 90 protesters were killed on Saturday, the deadliest day of clashes since protests against the coup began.
Smoke rises from tires burning at a barricade erected by protesters to stop government forces crossing a bridge on March 16, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s military Junta charged deposed de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi with accepting bribes and taking illegal payments in gold, as it also continued a brutal crackdown on a nationwide civil disobedience movement in which thousands of people have turned out in continued defiance of tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. Over 80 people have been killed so far according to the U.N.

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HKFP Lens

Showcasing photographic talent from Hong Kong and beyond.