Press Release – For immediate release
9 December 2020
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or
 [email protected]

As December 10 marks the 72nd year of International Human Rights Day, the World Uyghur Congress reiterates the importance of human rights and democratic freedoms for a better and more just world. On this occasion, the WUC highlights the deterioration of the situation in East Turkistan and the systematic violations of the fundamental rights of the Uyghur people. Today, the Uyghur people are facing genocide at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), yet there have been very few concrete steps to meaningfully resolve this crisis.

Seventy-two years ago, when the concept of human rights was formally recognized and codified in the UN Declaration of Human Rights, the international community agreed to work towards a world without violence, discrimination, and repression. It was founded on principles of universality and the recognition of the inherent value of human life and common humanity. World leaders had come to a general agreement that injustice in one part of the world was also the preoccupation of the rest of the world, and would necessitate urgent action from the international community. 

However, in the last four years, an unprecedented amount of crimes have been committed against the Uyghur people in East Turkistan. Taken together, these crimes meet the criteria for genocide, as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Due to the restrictive legislation, ethnic discrimination, and repressive policies, we are witnessing the internment of 1.8 – 3 million of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in concentration camps; the widespread use of Uyghur forced labour; the destruction of cultural and religious sites; the bans on the Uyghur language; the sinicization of Islam; the family separation policies; the forced sterilization of Uyghur women; the use of surveillance technology to repress and monitor Uyghurs. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has effectively criminalized every aspect of the Uyghur identity. 

Due to China’s growing efforts to undermine human rights and democracy, even outside its borders, the concept itself is under attack in international institutions, such as the United Nations. China has been spearheading a conception of human rights that recognizes the right to development and poverty alleviation as fundamental rights, thus remodeling the universal conception of human rights. Additionally, China continues to use tactics such as the harassment, threatening, and intimidation of human rights defenders, UN diplomats, and other officials who voiced criticism over China’s poor human rights record. 

These efforts deployed by China have tried to erode the universality and immutability of human rights, which are the cornerstones of the entire concept. We must remember that universality is essential to human rights and common humanity. 

Therefore, on the 72nd International Day for Human Rights, the WUC wants to remind the international community that the Uyghur people are entitled to human rights and that it has the moral responsibility to ensure they are protected. The WUC urges world leaders, elected officials, and human rights organizations around the world to make ending the Uyghur genocide a priority. 

We must all remember the origins of the concept of human rights, and act accordingly to protect it.