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The World Uyghur Congress Successfully Opens Its 4th General Assembly in Japan

Press Release – For immediate release
15 May 2012
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has successfully held the Opening Ceremony of its 4th General Assembly at the Japanese Parliament in Tokyo in the morning of May 14. More than 120 Uyghur delegates from 20 countries around the world, Members of the Parliaments of Japan, Turkey and Italy, other foreign dignitaries, and Chinese, Tibetan and human rights activists attended.

During the opening ceremony, Uyghur democracy leader Rebiya Kadeer expressed her deep appreciation to the government of Japan for enabling the WUC to hold its General Assembly in Japan by issuing visas to delegates, and to the people and Parliament of Japan for their strong support of Uyghur people’s peaceful struggle for human rights and democracy in their homeland. Ms. Kadeer also highlighted the severe repression suffered by the Uyghur people under the harsh “strike-hard” government policies in East Turkestan, which have been particularly shocking since the July 5 Urumchi Massacre of 2009, including large-scale round-ups of young men who have not been heard from since they disappeared, and reports of horrific torture of the young people in unacknowledged detention.

She said, “Uyghurs are now no longer just struggling for their human rights but for their very existence as a unique and indigenous people.” In her speech, Ms. Kadeer requested that the Japanese Government raise the human rights violations suffered by Uyghurs and called on the Chinese government to stop repression of the basic rights of Uyghurs, Tibetans, Mongols, Han Chinese and all ethnic groups in China, and to embrace democratic reform in the interest of all people in China.

Her opening remarks were followed by the speeches of prominent members of the Japanese, Turkish, and Italian Parliaments, foreign dignitaries, and Chinese and Tibetan human rights activists, calling for the government of China to end the ongoing grave violations of the civil and political rights, as well as economic, social and cultural rights, of the Uyghur people.  The opening ceremony ended with a press conference attended by Japanese and international media interested in the plight of the Uyghur people and the visit of Ms. Rebiya Kadeer and Uyghur delegates to Tokyo. They asked a number of questions, including the purpose of WUC 4th General Assembly.

In the afternoon, an educational tour of historic landmarks near the Japanese Parliament took place. In the evening, a Uyghur Cultural Gala was held with the attendance of Uyghur delegates and Japanese politicians and activists. Uyghur musicians and dancers performed traditional Uyghur music and dance.