PRESS RELEASE: WUC Calls on French Foreign Minister to Raise Human Rights Concerns During Visit

Press Release – For immediate release
23 November 2017

Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 (0) 89 5432 1999 or

On the eve of the first visit of the French Foreign Minister to China tomorrow, the World Uyghur Congress would like to call on Jean-Yves Le Drian to serious raise human rights concerns with his counterparts in Beijing.

The last year has seen a disastrous turn in terms of restrictions on the Uyghur population in particular. The Uyghur identity is now under direct threat on account of openly assimilationist policies.

East Turkestan has seen an unprecedented crackdown in the region in 2017 including the enforcement of draconian restrictions on religious practice, language rights and freedom of movement. Even the most quotidian religious expression has been criminalised, the Uyghur language has been banned in Hotan prefecture schools, and thousands have been reportedly detained and sent to “re-education” camps in recent months.

We have reached a real threshold in terms of China’s approach to difference. Each week new policies serve to further constrain and control Uyghurs through schools, the workplace, the mosque and extending into the home. Unless this is immediately acknowledged and substantively addressed, we fear that the future of Uyghurs as a distinct people will be tenuous.

It is the duty of the international community to respectfully call out those states that fail to live up to  international human rights norms. France continues to stand as a pillar of democracy and respect for human rights in Europe and should ensure that those values continue to be reflected in its foreign relations.