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Weekly Brief, 10 May

Weekly Brief, 10 May

NEWS

World Uyghur Congress Organises Its 20th Year Anniversary Event
From May 3-6, the World Uyghur Congress hosted its 20th year anniversary in Munich, Germany. The anniversary was an important occasion marked by the release of a groundbreaking study on the Uyghur genocide and testimonies from survivors like Kalbinur Sidik, highlighting the mental health toll. Panels, moderated by figures like Nury Turkel and Hanno Schedler, tackled pressing issues such as economic futures and genocide prevention, emphasizing solidarity among Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Hong Kongers. Special recognition was given to the pivotal role of Uyghur women in advancing the cause.

Reflecting on the past and looking towards the future, discussions in the Uyghur language underscored the resilience of the community. The anniversary concluded with a vibrant picnic, uniting the Uyghur community and international supporters in a display of solidarity and determination to continue the fight for justice and freedom.

The World Uyghur Congress Stands Against Xi Jinping’s Upcoming Visit to Europe
On May 5 the World Uyghur Congress issued a press release urging French President, Emmanuel Macron, to publicly address human rights abuses, echoing the French National Assembly’s recognition of the Uyghur genocide. The WUC also organised a protest in front of the Chinese Consulate in Munich with Uyghurs from 23 different countries, protesting Xi Jinping’s visit. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping just finished his  six-day visit to Europe, his first since 2019, except for a trip to Russia last year. His itinerary included meetings with Mr. Macron and European Commission President,Ursula von der Leyen in France, discussions on trade deficits and the Ukraine conflict, and visits to Serbia and Hungary. Hungary’s reluctance to discuss human rights abuses and reports of a train carrying goods produced by Uyghur forced labour to Italy is deplorable.. Despite EU regulations, the focus on Uyghur forced labour remains insufficient. The WUC called on Mr. Macron and Mr. von der Leyen to confront Beijing’s repression of Tibetans, Hong Kongers, and Uyghurs and strengthen EU trade tools against such violations.

Uyghurs Experience The Highest Incarceration Rate Globally
According to a report by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), an alarming number of Uyghurs, one in 26 in East Turkistan  are incarcerated, marking the world’s highest rate of imprisonment. This translates to an estimated 3,814 Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples imprisoned per 100,000 individuals, a staggering 47 times higher than China’s overall rate. Shockingly, this surpasses even countries like El Salvador, known for having the highest global incarceration rate. The report estimates that as of 2022, approximately 578,500 Uyghurs and other Turkic people were imprisoned, representing over one-third of China’s total prison population, despite comprising only 1% of the country’s overall population.

Prominent cases of imprisonment include Rahile Dawut, a Uyghur folklore expert sentenced to life in prison for “splittism,” and Gulshan Abbas, a retired Uyghur doctor sentenced on “terrorism” charges. Many intellectuals and scholars, like Dawut, have been unfairly targeted for their efforts to protect and preserve Uyghur culture. 

Investor Alliance for Human Rights Warns Against Relying On Social Audits For State-Sponsored Forced Labour Risks
Multinational companies face challenges in ensuring human rights compliance throughout their global supply chains. While traditional methods like social audits are useful, they fall short in addressing state-sponsored forced labour, especially prevalent in places like East Turkistan. Government control limits auditor access and workers’ freedom, rendering audits ineffective.

The situation in East Turkistan highlights the inadequacies of current practices. International auditing firms face retaliation, prompting legislation like the US Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act. Companies must weigh ethical and legal risks, considering diversification of supply chains to mitigate these concerns. Governments can support responsible sourcing practices, particularly in sectors like renewable energy.

Ignoring the limitations of social audits perpetuates complicity in human rights abuses. Companies must take decisive action to address these challenges and prioritise responsible sourcing practices.

PARTICIPATE

Call the UK Government to Stop Imports Related to Uyghur Forced Labour
Stand with the World Uyghur Congress and Glan as they challenge the UK’s decision to allow forced labor cotton. Demand justice: urge the UK to stop imports tainted by exploitation and atrocities against the Uyghurs. 

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.