Weekly Brief November 17th

World Uyghur Congress, 17 November 2017

World Uyghur Congress Concludes Its 6th General Assembly in Munich, Germany

The World Uyghur Congress concluded its 6th General Assembly in Munich, Germany by maintaining its firm commitment to supporting the rights of the Uyghur population in East Turkestan. Former President Rebiya Kadeer was approved by the delegates as new Special Leader, and the meeting also saw the election of long-time Uyghur activist and co-founder of the WUC, Dolkun Isa, as its new president, former vice-president, Omer Kanat, elected as Chairman of the Executive Committee.

Over 100 WUC delegates hailing from 18 countries met from November 10 to 12 to identify and prioritize the issues and challenges that the organization must address, and to develop a working strategy to advance the WUC mission of promoting freedom, human rights, and democracy for the Uyghur people. Delegates also participated in the WUC’s triennial leadership elections.

Delegates passed several resolutions underscoring the organization’s commitment to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the fundamental spirit of all the rights therein, and its founding principle of pursuing purely peaceful, non-violent action in support of its objectives.

In his remarks as the newly elected president, Dolkun Isa emphasized the spirit of unity among Uyghurs in exile and WUC’s duty to speak with moral clarity. He pledged to cooperate closely with all civil society and governments supporting freedom and justice, and expressed his firm conviction that the Uyghur people will someday realize their democratic rights and freedoms.

WUC Holds Advocacy and Leadership Workshop 

Building on previous workshops, the World Uyghur Congress held a Leadership and Advocacy Workshop from November 13-14, 2017 in Munich, Germany. The workshop focused on how best to advance the objectives of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) in the year ahead, given the state of international politics and a rising China today.

The workshop immediately followed the WUC’s 6th General Assembly (November 10-12, 2017), and enabled the new WUC leadership to focus on setting concrete and realistic objectives for advocacy. Participants of the workshop worked to develop an action plan and timeline for realizing these objectives. The participants produced concrete action plans for the WUC secretariat, for elected officers, and for national affiliates that will lead to more effective and coordinated advocacy efforts in the year ahead.

Ethnic Kazakhs Targeted for Searches and Mass Detentions by Chinese Police

This week, further instances of harassment and arbitrary detention were perpetrated against ethnic Kazakhs in East Turkestan by Chinese authorities. Kazakhs have been targeted, similarly to the Uyghurs due to the fact that many of them practice Islam and the Chinese authorities fears solidarity between the Kazakh and Uyghur populations.

It was first reported this week, by Radio Free Asia, that hundreds of ethnic Kazakh business owners were detained by Chinese authorities and their assets frozen, pending ‘investigation’. In large sweeps, Chinese police are estimated to have detained approximately 500 Kazakh businessmen. It was also reported that Chinese police conducted mass house-to-house searches of some 30,000 Kazakhs in East Turkestan, confiscating Qurans, prayer mats and other religious items.