Conference Announcement – The Rights of Uyghur Refugees: Past and Present Challenges

For immediate release
20 April 2016
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
 www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or contact@uyghurcongress.org

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The World Uyghur Congress, along with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization and the Society for Threatened Peoples, and with financial support from the National Endowment for Democracy, will hold an international conference focusing on the plight of Uyghurs fleeing East Turkestan, that will take place from April 25-26 in Berlin, Germany, at the Holiday Inn Berlin City East (Landsberger Allee 203, 13055 Berlin).

The two-day conference will provide a forum to bring together academics, experts, activists, members of civil society and witnesses together to discuss the problem and its underlying sources, as well as to develop a concrete strategy in terms of the remedial approach that must be taken. The conference will also provide a forum for conversation between members of WUC leadership from around the world and other interested parties.

The conference will be anchored by a report that has been developed by the World Uyghur Congress based on primary research conducted with members of the Uyghur community in Istanbul and Kayseri, Turkey, who fled China between 2012 and 2015. The report provides an in-depth look at the current conditions in East Turkestan for the Uyghur population and documents the harsh realities for those who chose to escape repression.

The impetus for the our focus on this issue in particular has been the growing number of Uyghurs who have chosen to flee repression in East Turkestan and cross the border into China’s neighbouring states. As a result, Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers have been mistreated and forcibly deported from ThailandCambodiaLaosMalaysiaMyanmar, Nepal and Kyrgyzstan over the last decade – in blatant violation of international law.

Most recently on 8 July 2015, 109 Uyghurs that had been held at a Thai immigration detention facility in Bangkok, were forcibly returned to China, in direct violation of international law and the 1951 Refugee Convention. Little continues to be done about these continued breaches of international law which has allowed countless states to act with impunity for years.

It is in this context that Uyghurs attempting to flee the country have found themselves neither safe at home nor when seeking asylum. This conference and its accompanying report will look to address these problems head on to better inform the international community about issues that are too often overlooked.

The conference will begin at 9:30 in conference rooms Elbe I and II on both April 25 and 26.

The WUC welcomes media inquiries, which should be sent to Dolkun Isa at dolkun@gmail.com.