Weekly Brief December 15th
World Uyghur Congress, 15 December 2017
Chinese Authorities Collect DNA from Millions of Uyghurs
It was widely reported this week that Chinese authorities have escalated their efforts to collect DNA samples and establish biometric profiles of the Uyghur people by making all Uyghurs between the ages of 12-65 give their finger prints, iris scans and blood types under the guise of a ‘Physicals for All’ public health program. The WUC congress has expressed its concern in the past over the practice of forcing Uyghurs to give their biological data in order to receive a passport, but this newest initiative represents a significant escalation.
The mass collection of the biometric data of Uyghurs not only constitutes a serious violation to their right to privacy, but also will likely to be used further monitor, control and repress the Uyghur people. Uyghurs are already subjected to overbearing censorship, surveillance and restrictions on their freedom of movement and expression. China’s increasingly dystopian and invasive security measures should be of major concern to all those who value basic freedoms, human rights and democracy, as the Chinese authorities continue to be a pioneer in tools of repression.
WUC President Speaks on Organ Harvesting at Roundtable in the UK Parliament
On 13 December 2017, WUC President Dolkun Isa participated in a roundtable discussion in the UK Parliament on organ harvesting in China. The roundtable was co-hosted by Members of the UK Parliament Jim Shannon and Fiona Bruce and aimed to raise awareness of the practice of forced organ harvesting in China. It assembled a panel of expert speakers to speak on this important issue and to discuss what steps the UK government could take to stop this barbaric practice.
WUC President, Dolkun Isa, participated in the event as an expert speaker. He spoke about the use of organ harvesting against the Uyghur people in particular and put the issue in context of the wider campaign of repression and assimilation against the Uyghur people. With thousands of Uyghurs unjustly detained in Chinese prisons and ‘re-education’ centres and hundreds subjected to enforced disappearance, Uyghur remain vulnerable to forced organ harvesting. Dolkun Isa informed the participants that it was the lack of transparency and accountability of the Chinese police in their treatment of Uyghurs that facilitated a culture of impunity and allowed organ harvesting to flourish. Isa concluded his speech by calling on this UK government to hold the Chinese government accountable for organ harvesting, saying, “when the international community remains silent, organ harvesting flourishes and the cycle of violence, dehumanisation and impunity continues”.
WUC Calls for Action on Human Rights Day
To mark the occasion of Human Rights Day and the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the World Uyghur Congress issues a press release calling for the international community to speak out against human rights violations.
Seventy years ago, when the concept of human rights was formally recognized and codified in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the international community took a big step to ensuring all the world’s citizens could live lives free of fear, violence and repression. It was founded on principles of universality, immutability and the recognition of the inherent value of human life and of our common humanity. It drew on the, at the time, radical notion that people should care about the lives, happiness and well-being of individuals who live on the outside their communities, in different countries and settings.
However, in recent years the human rights situation of many peoples, especially the Uyghurs, has deteriorated rapidly. Due to restrictive legislation, ethnic discrimination and repressive policies, Uyghurs routinely find themselves subjected to serious human rights violations. In East Turkestan, Uyghurs are not allowed to peacefully practice their religion, to speak or move freely or even to be to be educated in their native language. The situation is as bad as it has ever been, as many Uyghurs are arbitrarily detained, confined in re-education camps or disappear in Chinese custody.
Therefore, the WUC called on the international community to not be silent about human rights during this critical time. It should not be controversial to want the basic rights and freedoms that makes life worthwhile and meaningful. We ask people from all over the world to recall the origins of the concept and to care about the lives and well-being of the Uyghur people.
Uyghur Women Dies in Police Custody After Condition Left Untreated
A Uyghur woman has died in prison after she was arrested and detained by Chinese authorities. According to her husband, the woman had a medical condition that was left untreated during her detention, resulting in her death. She had been arrested by Chinese police on charges of “attempting to flee the country” after she had applied for a passport. The poor conditions that prisoners of conscience are subjected to while in detention in China is becoming a very concerning issues, after Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo passed away in Chinese custody, after being denied the right to seek treatment abroad.