Rebiya Kadeer Ends European Tour with a Productive Visit to the Netherlands

UNPO news / Tuesday, 15 December 2009

During a one-day visit to The Netherlands, Ms Kadeer discussed the Chinese suppression of the Uyghur people with human rights organizations, Dutch Members of Parliament, the press and academic experts.

Following her visit to six other countries, Ms Rebiya Kadeer ended her one-month European tour with a productive visit to the Dutch city of The Hague. Ms Kadeer, leader of the suppressed Uyghur people visited the Netherlands on Monday, December 14 2009, with the aim of engaging in dialogue with Dutch civil society, academia and government.

“When I was finally released from prison by the Chinese government in 2005, I promised myself that I would travel to Siberia to tell the story of the Uyghur people if only a single person wanted to hear it”. That is how Ms Kadeer opened her address to a wide range of human rights organizations in the morning of her visit. After outlining the long history of Uyghur oppression, Ms Kadeer explained how the Chinese government had used the 9/11 attacks and the current economic crisis as smokescreens to further suppress the Uyghur people without interference from the international community.

Following the discussion with human rights organizations, Ms Kadeer proceeded to talk with Dutch Members of Parliament. By invitation of MP Mr Harry van Bommel, Ms Kadeer had a meeting with members from the Commission of Foreign Affairs, in which she explicitly stipulated how the Dutch Parliament could take concrete steps towards the protection of human rights of the Uyghur people. After discussing the dire situation of the Uyghurs in East Turkestan following the July 5th unrest, the Dutch MPs agreed to submit parliamentary inquiries into the ongoing media blackout in Urumqi, capital of East Turkestan, which is used by the government of China to inhibit all communication with and amongst the Uyghur inhabitants of the region.

Ms Kadeer then went on to meet with a group of academic experts to discuss political, human rights and communications issues from a Uyghur perspective. During this meeting, co-hosted by UNPO and the Clingendael Institute, the participants discussed the influence of the situation in East Turkestan on the international relations between China and other countries.

Ms Kadeer travelled back to Washington D.C. on December 15th, to continue her advocacy from the D.C. Headquarters of the Uighur American Association.