CONFERENCE REPORT: Confronting Atrocities in China: The Global Response to the Uyghur Crisis

World Uyghur Congress, 01 November 2019

Congress (WUC) along with the Uyghur  Human Rights Project (UHRP), the Uyghur  American Association (UAA), and the Central  Asia Program at George Washington  University held a two-day conference:,  ‘Confronting Atrocities in China: The Global  Response to the Uyghur Crisis’. 

The event aimed to bring together political  leaders, diplomats, humanitarian and  human-rights agencies, policy experts,  human rights specialists, Uyghur leaders and  the Uyghur community abroad to advance  the global response to the human-rights  atrocities affecting Uyghurs in East Turkistan  and abroad. 

In addition, the aim of the conference was to  mobilize broad participation in developing  diverse strategies in order to pressure China  to close political indoctrination camps and  respect Uyghurs’ and other Turkic Muslims’  fundamental rights. 

The conference was held over two days and  included speakers from various backgrounds  and disciplines to discuss and address a  number of key open questions on how best to  galvanize further support for Uyghurs, to  mount a coordinated campaign to pressure  China to close the camps, ensure  accountability for those responsible for  ongoing abuses, and adopt measures to  safeguard the fundamental rights of Uyghurs  and other Turkic Muslims in China and  abroad. 

Ahead of the event, all the speakers were  urged to take a solutions-based approach to  the primary question of the conference: How  can the international community work  together to oblige China to close the political  indoctrination facilities and moves towards  respecting the fundamental rights of  Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims? 

The conference built upon past events that  aimed to highlight the most pertinent issues  for Uyghurs and connected interested  activists, academics, political leaders and  community members as a means of working  together to solve major challenges Uyghurs  continue to face. 

Opening Ceremony:
On June 6, 2019, the event began with an opening ceremony on Capitol Hill, attended by over 100 guests. The speakers included among others Dolkun Isa, WUC President, Randall Schriver, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs U.S. State Department, Jim McGovern, United States Congressman and Sam Brownback, Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.

Panel 1: Survey of Evidence
This panel gave insights in first hand evidence on the human rights violations committed by the Chinese government and discussed further research strategies.

Panel 2: Chinese Community Mobilization
The second panel focused on the views and beliefs of the Han Chinese community, inside and outside of China, to the crisis and strategies to mobilize, inform and further involve the Han Chinese community in responding to this crisis.

Panel 3: Academic Perspectives
The panel on Academic Perspectives brought together leading academics from around the world who have been active in researching and exposing the true situation in East Turkistan and even urging governments and other bodies to take concrete actions.

Panel 4: Perspectives & Solutions From Civil Society
The panelists, who represented different Non-Governmental Organizations dealing with the human rights situation in East Turkistan, emphasized that policy makers on many different national and international levels have already been sensitized for the atrocities being committed against the Uyghur people. They, however, identified the current lack of stakeholders willing to make the first move as the next challenge for advocacy action on behalf of the global Uyghur community.

Panel 5: Witness Testimony
This panel of touching and at times gut-wrenching accounts of members of the Uyghur diaspora who have themselves suffered at the hands of the Chinese government or have been affected by reprisals against their relatives in East Turkistan due to their activism in overseas.

Panel 6: Legal Approaches
Legal Expert discussed different legal approaches to address the Uyghur crisis in international institutions and how to hold China accountable.

Panel 7: Media Approaches
The panel dealt with the journalistic take on the Uyghur crisis and illuminated the involvement in, and crucial contribution of, journalism to finding a solution to the hardship faced by Uyghurs on a daily basis.

The report can be read in full here.