WEEKLY BRIEF SEPTEMBER 7
World Uyghur Congress, 7 September 2018
Uyghur Family of Four in Sweden at Risk of Imminent Deportation to China
A Uyghur family of four has had their asylum claim denied several times in Sweden and are now at significant risk of being imminently deported to China where they most likely would be subjected to serious human rights violations including enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention and torture.
The WUC has urged the Swedish government, in the strongest possible terms, not to forcibly return this family to China, where they would face persecution due to their ethnic identity. Over 300 Uyghurs returned to China from 16 different countries in the past 15 years have disappeared.
In April this year a 22-year-old Uyghur man was mistakenly returned from Germany back to China due to an administrative error in the Bavarian government. Despite attempts from his German lawyer and the German government to contact him, there has been no information about his whereabouts or well-being since he was returned. In August 2018, the German government announced that they had decided to halt all deportation of Uyghurs to China for the foreseeable future due to the severe persecution Uyghurs are subjected to on behalf of their ethnic identity
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and Germany have noted the fact that most Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers faced severe persecution when returned to China due to their ethnicity and the vast majority disappear upon their return.
The WUC hopes that the Swedish government would abide by international law and the non-refoulment principle and refrain from forcibly returning this family to China, where they would face certain persecution.
WUC Reps Met with European Parliament Members in Brussels
World Uyghur Congress representatives were in Brussels this week to meet with European Parliament members and other European officials to discuss the plight of Uyghurs in East Turkistan where millions of Uyghurs are arbitrarily detained, tortured and forcefully disappeared.
The WUC has been urging to institutions of the EU to be more vocal about the human rights crisis in East Turkistan and to take concrete action aimed at securing the release of all those held in the political indoctrination camps.
As a first step, five Members of the European Parliament: Ramon Tremosa, Balcells Fabio, Massimo Castaldo, Petras Austrevicius, Sógor Csaba and Tőkés László Sajtóirodája, have tabled a written question asking the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, what specific actions the EU is taking to address the arbitrary detention of more than one million Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps. As a matter of procedure, Ms. Mogherini must respond to the question and make the EU’s position on this issue known to the public.
WUC looks forward to Ms. Mogherini’s answer and we also urge the EU to stay true to its human rights obligations and European values and take concrete action to address this human rights crisis.
Norwegian Parliamentarians Raises the Political Indoctrination Camps with Chinese Officials on Official Visit
The Foreign Affairs Committee of the Norwegian Parliament has raised the mass arbitrary detention of over one million Uyghurs in camps with Chinese officials on their official visit to China. Their comments came after excellent work by NUK– Den Norske Uighur komiteen in informing them of the human rights crisis affecting the Uyghur people.
WUC thanks the parliamentarians for their courage and empathy in speaking up for the Uyghur human rights issue in East Turkistan. It gives the Uyghur community hope that the international community is finally breaking its silence, so the Uyghur people in East Turkistan will no longer suffer in silence.
It is so important that states substantively raise this issue with the Chinese government, along with other serious human rights issues. The WUC urges other state delegations to raise this issue in their meetings with the Chinese government.
Report Highlights the Threat Posed by the Political Indoctrination Camps to the Uyghur Identity
This week a detailed report was published on The Atlantic by Sigal Samuel exposing the Chinese governments’ harsh crackdown on Uyghurs in East Turkistan and the major effects of the political indoctrination camps on Uyghur families and children.
“Children and parents are being ripped apart on a massive scale. It may rob an entire generation of their Muslim identities.”
Ms Samuel reports that the mass internment system doesn’t only affect the Uyghurs incarcerated in it but also affects the family who is involved as they face separation, which impacts thousands of children. When Uyghur parents are sent to the camps, their children are often taken away to state-run orphanages, where they are brainwashed and been forced into a new identity. This has caused the Uyghur community to fear that such assimilationist policies may enable China to reshape the identity of an entire generation of Uyghurs.