EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT — The Uyghur crisis: China’s Laboratory for Rights Abuses
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) in cooperation with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) will hold an international conference, “The Uyghur Crisis: A Laboratory for Rights Abuses” on December 10, 2019, in room ASP-3H1 at the European Parliament. The event will be preceded by a human rights advocacy workshop from December 7-9 with youth participants from around the world.
The WUC has regularly organized human rights advocacy training workshops around the world for Uyghur youth in order to increase their capacity for advocacy in their national or local contexts, to connect and coordinate their work within the broader, international strategy and goals of the WUC and to support and foster leadership among the Uyghur youth.
This training will focus on interaction with the media and effective communication in the context of Uyghur-related human rights advocacy. The Chinese government has frequently pointed to statements made by Uyghur activists to discredit the Uyghur human rights effort. In recognition that the response to the crisis has become a conflict over narrative and to establish truth, how Uyghur activists relate to the media and what they say has become very important.
The past year and several successful social media campaigns from Uyghur activists have shown that personal testimony and emotional media pieces on individuals families have been among the most effective tools in raising awareness and garnering support for the Uyghur cause.
This workshop aims to provide young Uyghur activists with the skills, knowledge and context to facilitate them in engaging with different forms of media in an effective, responsible and appropriate way. The workshop will focus on the different opportunities and challenges through different forms of media engagement, especially regarding social media and interactions with journalists and other media outlets. The WUC also intends to emphasize the need for a careful, strategic and evidence approach for Uyghur activists engaging with the media.
The conference “The Uyghur crisis: China’s Laboratory for Rights Abuses” aims to bring together health and medical experts with human rights groups, researchers, policy-makers, and Uyghur leaders to discuss the issue of the region of East Turkistan (and the Uyghur people) used as a laboratory for Chinese policy and technological development.
Many have now described East Turkistan as a testing ground, or laboratory, for Chinese policy as well as for the use of surveillance technology and the collection of personal data to track individuals belonging to particular ethnic groups. Moreover, the idea of the region as a testing ground stretches back many years with the use of nuclear testing, organ harvesting in some cases, and regional ethnic policies.
The conference will build upon past events that aimed to highlight the most pertinent issues for Uyghurs today and to place more specific issues in a broader context of China’s repressive policies and the international response. It will begin with an opening session in the European Parliament, with the rest of the panels to be conducted at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles (ULB).