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.
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.