Weekly Brief, 02 February 2024

Weekly Brief, 02 February 2024

NEWS

World Uyghur Congress Attends Launch of Irish Uyghur Cultural Association
Last week, the World Uyghur Congress travelled to Dublin, Ireland to attend the launch of the Irish Uyghur Cultural Association on January 26. The Uyghur Cultural Association was founded by Nuria Zyden, an Irish-Citizen of Uyghur heritage and David O’Brien, an Irish academic, and focuses on amplifying, celebrating and protecting the Uyghur culture and language, as well as raising awareness on the atrocity crimes against Uyghurs. 

The Launch was attended by World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa, Campaign for Uyghurs Executive Director, Rushan Abbas, Centre for Uyghur Studies Executive Director, Abdulhakin Idris, Taiwan’s representative to Ireland, Pierre Yang, representative of the Holocaust Awareness Ireland, Oliver Sears, representatives of the US embassy, representatives of the Muslim community in Ireland and Uyghur allies. 

World Uyghur Congress Director of Global Advocacy Receives Four Freedom Award
On January 31, the World Uyghur Congress Director of Global Advocacy, Zumretay Arkin was awarded the Four Freedom Awards for the Freedom of Worship by the Roosevelt Foundation in recognition of her dedicated fight for the rights of Uyghurs. 

Each year, the Roosevelt Foundation awards individuals and organisations committed to securing freedom and defending human rights with the award. The Freedom Awards represent the four freedoms proclaimed by US President Roosevelt in his 1941 speech. Past prominent laureates include Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Angela Merkel. 

“I don’t do this work in order to receive awards, money or recognition. I do it because I truly believe that our small actions can have great impact on a global scale and contribute to ending atrocity crimes and set up accountability mechanisms for the victims of genocide, said WUC Director of Global Advocacy, Zumretay Arkin. 

China Enacts New Repressive Policies
On February 1, the Chinese Government enacted new policies, which focus on “sinicizing” religions, aligning them with Chinese Communist Party ideology and Han Chinese culture. Human Rights Watch reported that the Chinese government’s revised regulations in East Turkistan tighten control over the religious practices of Uyghurs. The regulations emphasise socialist core values, Sinicization of religions in architecture, and ideological requirements for religious teachings. The 2024 revisions also extend control over religious education, prohibiting non-government-approved religious education and imposing new requirements on religious establishments. 

Additionally, RFA reported that within East Turkistan a new government policy aimed at promoting integration among ethnic groups to achieve President Xi Jinping’s goal of establishing a unified national identity, went into effect on January 1 in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture. This policy is being implemented as a trial, with potential expansion to other regions within East Turkistan. Concerns are raised about the potential disappearance of Uyghur historical neighbourhoods, traditions, and culture as a result of this policy.

New HRW Report on Uyghur Forced Labour
On February 1, the WUC Director of Advocacy, Zumretay Arkin spoke at the Human Rights Watch Audio Event, discussing HRW’s new report titled “Asleep at the Wheel: Car Companies’ Complicity in Forced Labor in China.” The 99-page report examined Chinese government and company documents, and found links between aluminium producers in East Turkistan and forced labour transfer programmes, which relocate Uyghurs from their homes to work in factories in urban areas. Furthermore, global carmakers, including General Motors, Tesla, BYD, Toyota, and Volkswagen, are not doing enough to minimise the risk of Uyghur forced labor in their aluminium supply chains. The report highlights that some carmakers have yielded to Chinese government pressure, applying weaker human rights and responsible sourcing standards in their Chinese joint ventures compared to their global operations. Aluminum production in East Turkista has grown significantly, with 9% of the global supply stemming from the region.

PARTICIPATE

Join Us to Commemorate the Ghulja Massacre
Join the World Uyghur Congress, Stop Uyghur Genocide and the UK Uyghur Community on February 5, to commemorate the victims of the Ghulja massacre – demand life, human rights and freedom for the Uyghur people. More information here.

Ask Volkswagen to Close its Plant in East Turkistan
Despite growing evidence of the ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs, Volkswagen continues to operate in East Turkistan. The World Uyghur Congress is collecting signatures to demand Volkswagen to close down its plant in Urumqi. Please sign here!

Support Uyghurs’ Genocide & Crimes Against Humanity Case in Argentina
The World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur Human Rights Project have launched a criminal case in the courts of Argentina in relation to the international crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity being committed against the Uyghur people. Please donate and be a part of this historic case.