UNPO General Secretary States That a New Year Needs Fresh Resolve from the International Community to Protect Uyghur Rights
UNPO, 13 January 2012
The Hague – As Chinese New Year approaches, the international community must stand ready to renew its pressure on Beijing, both to uphold the rights of its citizens but also to end the policies that are discriminating and marginalisaing Uyghurs throughout East Turkestan and China.
The reported deaths of seven Uyghurs in Guma County of Hoten prefecture on 28 December 2011 came amid a renewed ‘Strike Hard’ campaign by Chinese authorities that has seen Uyghur activists detained, assaulted, and disappeared with no recourse to justice or compensation.
Those that have presented appeals to the Chinese authorities risk being consigned to ‘reeducation’ camps. In August 2011 seven Uyghurs disappeared, their families learning months later that they had been sentenced to ‘reeducation’ for the staging of a public protest against economic policies that have been impoverishing farmers for years.
As a result many Uyghurs have fled their country to find refuge elsewhere but the decision of authorities such as those in Sweden to repatriate Uyghurs to China sends a worrying signal. Beijing cannot be encouraged to act as it has done – the international community has a responsibility to evaluate Uyghur asylum claims with greater insight and understanding.
The Chinese authorities can no longer use the pretense of a ‘War on Terror’ to intimidate, terrorise, and disallow constitutional rights to its citizens, whoever they may be. The Chinese New Year must be a time when the international community makes clear to Beijing its conviction to protect Uyghur rights in China and around the world.