World Uyghur Congress Statement on Upcoming UN Security Council China Visit

World Uyghur Congress, 20 November 2018

UN Security Council diplomats will visit China this week from November 22-25 as a means for China to highlight development in Shenzhen and Guangzhou and its role as a supporter of UN peacekeeping operations.

Thus far, there has been no indication that the one million Uyghurs and other Turkic groups arbitrarily detained in internment camps in East Turkistan will be raised by diplomats with their Chinese counterparts.

The camps began construction on a large-scale back in mid-2017, but have ballooned in size in 2018 with no end in sight. Satellite imagery has shown the extent of the camps, construction and security bids indicate that no decline is yet expected, and Uyghurs have yet not been released in significant numbers. All signs point to no end in sight for the victims.

The camps operate as prisons, with razor-wire strung across the tops of high walls and no communication possible with family outside. Conditions have been described by numerous sources as poor with torture playing a significant role. At least 30 deaths have been reported including the mother of WUC president Dolkun Isa, Ayhan Memet, and prominent religious scholar, Muhammad Salih Hajim. News of these cases was received only weeks and even months afterwards.

China’s UN ambassador, Ma Zhaoxu, said in a statement that the stops in Shenzhen and Guangzhou would allow ambassadors to get a feel for China’s development and reforms. The visit is seriously undermined, however, by the fact that development on the coast is shamefully overshadowed by an attempt in the west to destroy an entire ethnic group.

To ignore such a critical issue would illustrate the extent to which states are not willing to uphold even the most basic international human rights norms. Diplomats have a clear obligation to raise this glaring issue and communicate their strong concerns about severe human rights abuses against Uyghurs and others.

WUC President Dolkun Isa commented on the upcoming meeting, saying that, “The Security Council has long been unresponsive to issues with China given their permanent membership, but the 14 other members must uphold their obligation to maintain international order including respect for human rights.”

The role off the Security Council since its inception has been to maintain global peace and security. If the arbitrary detention of one million on the basis of ethnic origin doesn’t necessitate action, then what does?

Photo: NYT