Two years on from riots and mass arrests in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Amnesty International has warned that the Chinese authorities continue to silence those speaking out on abuses during and after the unrest.
Hundreds of people were detained and prosecuted following the riots, with several dozen sentenced to death or executed and hundreds detained, with many of these sentenced to long prison terms.
Managers of well known Uighur websites and journalists have been jailed for involvement in posting messages announcing the protests, or for talking to foreign media.
Uighur asylum seeker Ershidin Israil was recently forcibly returned from Kazakhstan to China amid reported pressure from the Chinese authorities. He had been recently interviewed by Radio Free Asia about the alleged torture and death in custody of a young Uighur man in the aftermath of the protests.
“The government is not only still muzzling people who speak out about July 2009, it is using its influence outside its borders to shut them up,” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific.
“The general trend towards repression that we see all over China is particularly pronounced in Xinjiang, where the Uighur population has become a minority in its own homeland.”
Press release – for immediate release 17 June 2011 Marco Perduca firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel:(+39) 06 689791 Nonviolent Radical Party Transnational and Transparty www.radicalparty.org
In 15 June 2011, Jana Brandt, on behalf of the Nonviolent Radical Party (NRP), delivered a statement on item 4 (“Human rights situations that require the attention of the Council”) at the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), Geneva. In the statement, the NRP drew the Council´s attention to the upcoming 2nd anniversary of the 5 July 2009 events in Urumqi, East Turkestan, China.
Video of the intervention:
On 5 July 2009, Uyghurs in Urumqi staged a peaceful protest which was brutally suppressed by Chinese security forces and subsequently led to ethnic unrest in the city that left hundreds of people dead.
Ershidin Israil, an ethnic Uighur and a Chinese national, was forcibly returned from Kazakhstan to China on 30 May and is now being treated as a “major terror suspect” by the Chinese authorities. He is at risk of torture and ill-treatment in custody and unfair trial.
Ershidin Israil was forcibly extradited back to China from Kazakhstan and now faces charges as a “major terror suspect”. Kazakh authorities reportedly turned Ershidin Israil over to Chinese authorities on 30 May 2011. On 14 June Chinese authorities confirmed he was in their custody, and being treated as a “major terror suspect”.
Ershidin Israil fled China to Kazakhstan in September 2009, days after having given an interview to Radio Free Asia during which he exposed the alleged beating to death in custody of Shohret Tursun, a young Uighur man involved in the July 5, 2009, unrest in Urumqi. He applied to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for asylum shortly after his arrival in Kazakhstan. In March 2010, the UNHCR recognized Ershidin Israil as a refugee and he was accepted for resettlement in Sweden. However, on 3 April 2010 he was taken into custody by the Kazakh authorities and formally arrested in June 2010. Between 23 June 2010 and 18 May 2011, courts in Kazakhstan considered and rejected his application for asylum a total of five times. The UNHCR revoked his refugee status on 3 May 2011.
– China’s many political prisoners do not deserve to be forgotten in dark and unknown prisons. Sweden is directly involved in this asylum case and should stand up for human rights. When the UN fails, Sweden must have the courage to stand up against dictatorships methods.
Said Annelie Enochsson, Member of Parliament for the Christian Democrats, as she submitted a written question to the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt. Annelie Enochson demanding Swedish concern into what happened Ershidin Israel.
– History teacher Ershidin Israel had witnessed the brutality of the Chinese regime against its Uighur compatriots and fled on foot over to Kazakhstan. Once granted the status by the UNHCR as a refugee, he was to be resettled in Sweden.
(New York) – The European Union should set clear and public benchmarks for progress on human rights in China during their human rights dialogue in Beijing on June 16, 2011, Human Rights Watch said today. If the EU does not press for specific results, it will effectively mean that it has surrendered to Chinese government efforts to limit international public scrutiny and discussions about its human rights record, Human Rights Watch said.
“From the Chinese government’s perspective, these human rights dialogues are a means to limit and isolate any discussion about its dismal human rights record at relatively low diplomatic levels,” said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “The EU has gone along with the script, largely treating the dialogues as business-as-usual talk shops, despite the Chinese government’s escalating crackdowns, detentions, and disappearances of activists.”
On 6 June 2011, WUC Project Coordinator Jana Brandt delivered a statement on behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples (www.gfbv.org) during the general debate on item 3 at the 17th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, speaking about the ongoing violation of Uyghur´s freedom of expression as well as the recent extradition of the Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israel from Kazakhstan to China .
Video of the intervention:
Following the full statement:
“The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) welcomes the report (A/HRC/17/27 and A/HRC/17/27/Add.1) of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr. Frank La Rue, in which he recognizes the criminalization of legitimate expression through the imprisonment of bloggers around the world. He highlights the situation in China with at least 72 imprisoned blogger at the end of 2010 and one of the world´s most sophisticated and extensive systems for controlling information on the Internet.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Washington, 2 June 2011 Contact: Mary McGuire 202-747-7035
Freedom House condemns Kazakhstan’s decision to deport Ershidin Israil, a Uyghur schoolteacher who fled China in the summer of 2009 after ethnic riots in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
Israil has been designated a refugee by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Chinese authorities accuse him of “terrorism” for speaking out about the death in custody of a fellow Uyghur at the hands of Chinese security forces. Media reports indicate that Israil is now in custody and his deportation imminent.
“It is unacceptable that a person who has been accorded refugee status by the UNHCR should be forced to return to a country where he is likely to face harsh treatment and possibly torture,” said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House. “The Kazakh authorities have an international obligation to grant protection to those who seek refuge in their country and it has shamefully shirked its duty. The UN should further investigate Mr. Israil’s case and reform its own procedures to more fully protect refugees from these types of situations in the future.”
Human Rights in China (HRIC) is extremely concerned over reports of the deportation of Uyghur refugee Ershidin Israil to China from fellow Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member state Kazakhstan.
Israil fled to Kazakhstan in late September 2009, in the wake of the July 2009 Urumqi riots in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. He was initially granted refugee status by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Almaty, Kazakhstan in March 2010, and was scheduled to depart for resettlement in Sweden on April 1, 2010. However, Kazakhstan authorities denied Israil’s application for an exit visa and arrested him on June 23, 2010. In May 2011, a Kazakh court denied his application for political asylum.
Deportation of Israil by the authorities of Kazakhstan – which currently holds the rotating presidency of the SCO and will host the upcoming tenth anniversary “Jubilee Summit” of the organization – raises serious questions about the impact of the SCO framework on respect for human rights. Pursuant to SCO agreements, Kazakhstan is obliged to extradite individuals accused by another member state government of “terrorism,” “separatism,” or “extremism,” and to “prevent the granting of refugee status and corresponding documents” to persons alleged to be involved in offenses related to terrorism.