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PRESS RELEASE: World Uyghur Congress Director of Global Advocacy Receives Four Freedom Award

PRESS RELEASE: World Uyghur Congress Director of Global Advocacy Receives Four Freedom Award

Press Release – For Immediate Release 
12 April 2024 
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

On April 11, the World Uyghur Congress Director of Global Advocacy and Chair of the Women’s Committee, Zumretay Arkin was awarded the Freedom of Worship Award by the Roosevelt Foundation in recognition of her dedicated fight for the rights of Uyghurs. Ms. Arkin accepted the reward on behalf of the Uyghur community. 

“Me standing here, accepting this prestigious award is a strong message to Beijing, that we will not be silenced,” stated Ms. Arkin during her acceptance speech. “The persecution of Uyghurs Is not merely a domestic issue confined to the borders of China. It is a matter of global concern that demands our collective action and solidarity. We must hold the Chinese government to account for its actions and demand an end to the oppression of religious freedom and genocide in my homeland East Turkistan.” 

For years, Ms. Arkin has tirelessly advocated for the human rights of Uyghurs in East Turkistan and the diaspora. As the Director of Global Advocacy for the World Uyghur Congress, she leads the organisation’s advocacy efforts, striving for the protection and preservation of Uyghur culture, religion, and language in international forums. These include the United Nations, national governments, international press, and civil society organisations. Additionally, Ms. Arkin is a strong advocate for the rights of Uyghur women and serves as the Chair of the Women’s Committee at the World Uyghur Congress.

‘’This award is full of meaning to the Uyghur community, because it brings us hope, but most importantly it inspires and motivates the Uyghur youth. We must celebrate those successes’’, said the President of the World Uyghur Congress, in reaction to the news.

Each year, the Roosevelt Foundation honours individuals and organisations committed to securing freedom and defending human rights with the Freedom awards, which represent the four freedoms proclaimed by US President Roosevelt in his 1941 speech to the American Congress. The Freedom of Worship, according to President Roosevelt, is the “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way.” The Awards, which have been received by prominent laureates including Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Angela Merkel, began as a tradition in the 1950s. This year’s laureates, alongside Ms. Arkin are Save Ukraine (Mykola Kuleba), Bellingcat (Eliot Higgins), Sonia Guajajara and Grace Forrest.