Weekly Brief: June 15

World Uyghur Congress, 15 June 2018

WUC Commemorates the 30 Year Anniversary of the 1998 Uyghur Student Protests

The World Uyghur Congress commemorates the 30th anniversary of Uyghur student protests in Urumqi on June 15th, 1988. The protests themselves stood as an early reaction to Chinese policies in the 1980s that openly discriminated against the Uyghur students in particular, and one of the first large-scale public responses to discriminatory policies against Uyghurs that many students felt.

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PRESS RELEASE: WUC Commemorates Tiananmen Square Democracy Protestors on 29th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre

World Uyghur Congress, 4 June 2018

Today marks the 29th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, where thousands of Chinese protestors were brutally suppressed for holding demonstrations calling for democracy and for their basic human rights to be respected. Students, teachers, activists and civilians were among those killed with estimates ranging from hundreds to ten thousand merely for exercising their right to freedom of assembly and calling for democracy.

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Press Release: Consultative status of human rights group under fire at the United Nations

Society for Threatened Peoples, 31 May 2018

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has warned against restricting the freedom of independent non-governmental organizations at the United Nations (UN). “The influence of authoritarian states in the world organization continues to grow. Non-governmental organizations must not be silenced just because they draw attention to serious human rights violations,” said STP’s director Ulrich Delius.

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PRESS RELEASE: WUC President Dolkun Isa Finally Admitted to UN Indigenous Forum

Press Release – For immediate release
26 April 2018
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 
www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or contact@uyghurcongress.org

After nearly 2 weeks of confusion and rejection, WUC President Dolkun Isa was finally allowed to enter the UN premises and participate in the Permanent Forum of Indigenous Issues on April 25th. Despite being approved to attend the Forum weeks in advance and being re-approved via email just last week, Mr. Isa was twice prevented from entering the UN premises to participate in the Forum. Isa’s entrance required the intervention from the UN Permanent Missions of the United States and Germany.

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PRESS RELEASE: WUC President Prevented for Second Straight Year from Participating in UN Indigenous Forum Despite Prior Approval

Press Release – For immediate release
4 April 2018
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or contact@uyghurcongress.org

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) condemns in the strongest terms the decision taken by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA) to wrongfully prevent WUC President Dolkun Isa from participating in the 17thsession of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, despite his prior approval.

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‘Gulmira Imin Must Not be Forgotten’

Radio Free Asia, 16 February 2018

By Mamatjan Juma and Alim Seytoff – Gulmira Imin, a former government employee and administrator of the Uyghur-language Salkin web site in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang, is now nearing the start of her eighth year of a life sentence in prison following her conviction on charges of ethnic separatism.

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Weekly Brief February 9th

World Uyghur Congress, 9 February 2018

WUC Urges Malaysian Government Not to Deport 11 Uyghur Refugees to China

The World Uyghur Congress issued a press release this week expressing its deep concern about reports that the 11 Uyghurs refugees in detention in Malaysia are at significant risk of being deported to China. If returned to China, they would be at significant risk of being subjected to severe human rights violations including arbitrary detention, torture, enforced disappearance and death, due to their ethnic identity. We strongly urge the Malaysian government to abide by international human rights standards and refrain from returning 11 innocent people to a country which would subject them to irreparable harm.

The Uyghur refugees were arrested in Pahang, Malaysia by police on 4 January 2018 after escaping from a Thai Refugee Detention Centre in November 2017. They had been held in detention in Thailand since early 2014. Twenty Uyghurs in total managed to escape the detention center, but 3 were caught by police while still in Thailand and 6 were caught in Malaysia and deported to Thailand afterwards. The remaining 11 were hiding in Malaysia until they were arrested at the beginning of January.

In response to their escape, the Chinese government has called on Thailand to “quickly bring to justice” those who escaped. This week, multiple media outlets reported that the Chinese government has been pressuring the Malaysian government to return all 11 refugees back to China.

It is unconscionable that these 11 Uyghurs have been put in this position. Not only have they had to endure arbitrary detention in Thailand for over 3 years, for trying to flee persecution and repression in China, now they may be forced to return to country from which they fled in the first place. These 11 human beings only wanted a better life for themselves and their families where they could enjoy their basic rights and freedoms. They now find their very lives at risk.

Human Rights Watch and the U.S. State Department have joined the WUC in calling on Malaysia to not deport the 11 Uyghur refugees. We appeal to the international community to join us in urging Malaysia not deport these individuals and subject them to a miserable fate.

WUC Issues Press Release on 21st Anniversary of Ghulja Massacre

The World Uyghur Congress issued a press release this week to commemorate the 21st anniversary of the Ghulja Massacre in which hundreds of peaceful Uyghur protesters were killed by Chinese state security forces in early February 1997. The date remains a watershed moment in terms of the treatment of Uyghurs in East Turkestan by the Chinese government, who would use excessive force to violently break up any form of demonstration since then.

On 5 February 1997, thousands of Uyghurs gathered for a peaceful demonstration in the Ili prefecture city of Ghulja in East Turkestan in response to continued Chinese aggression and the prohibition of Uyghur social organizations, known as Mäshräp, from gathering for cultural events. The protests were immediately quashed by Chinese security forces leaving at least 100 dead and many more injured. Nearly 4000 would be arrested and of those, 200 would subsequently face the death penalty.

The response to the demonstrations would prove crucial in understanding the intentions of the Chinese government in East Turkestan for years afterwards. We continue to witness an outright disregard for human life in many of these circumstances. Freedom of assembly and association are clearly enshrined in international law to ensure that the peaceful voice of the oppressed are able to speak out to their oppressors and demand equal treatment.

Unemployed Uyghurs Forced to Take Indoctrination Classes in East Turkestan

It was reported this week that unemployed Uyghurs across East Turkestan are being forced to take indoctrination classes by the Chinese government to ensure that they ‘avoid activities that affect social stability’. These classes reportedly last for several hours a day and are focused at promoting a ‘patriotic education’. Forced indoctrination classes are becoming the norm in East Turkestan as hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs are already being detained and subjected to indoctrination by Chinese police in the numerous ‘re-education’ camps.

Facial-Recognition Glasses Increase Surveillance of Uyghurs

The Chinese government use of advanced technology to monitor and control the Uyghur population intensified this week, as it was announced that Chinese police would now be equipped with facial-recognition sunglasses. The glasses are reportedly capable of picking individual faces out of a large crowd of people. While the Chinese government claims that will be used to combat criminality and terrorism, they will likely be used to monitor, arrest and harass Uyghurs, dissidents and activists.

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Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance

Washington Post, 9 January 2017

By Simon Denyer – For 40-year-old Mao Ya, the facial recognition camera that allows access to her apartment house is simply a useful convenience.

“If I am carrying shopping bags in both hands, I just have to look ahead and the door swings open,” she said. “And my 5-year-old daughter can just look up at the camera and get in. It’s good for kids because they often lose their keys.”

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