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Weekly Brief, 12 April 2024

Weekly Brief, 12 April 2024

NEWS

World Uyghur Congress President Writes Op-Ed on Uyghur Genocide
On April 4, the Argentinean online newspaper, Infobae, published an op-ed by World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa on the Uyghur genocide. The op-ed describes the dire situation for Uyghurs in East Turkistan since 2017, and gives insights into the transnational repression faced by Uyghurs in the diaspora. Highlighting coercive tactics such as ‘coercion-by-proxy’ and ‘hostage diplomacy’ , Mr Isa also recounts his own experiences with China’s transnational repression, and emphasises the urgent need for accountability and action from the international community to address the genocide.

“There is no limit to what the Chinese government is willing to do to prevent the world from seeing the true extent of its genocide,” writes WUC President, Dolkun Isa. “As the international community slowly grapples with the reality of what is happening on the ground, it is crucial to listen to the global Uyghur community and actively hold China accountable for its actions by utilising all available mechanisms provided by international law. It is beyond due time to act.

German Civil Society Issues Joint Letter Ahead of German Chancellor’s Visit to China
On April 9, the World Uyghur Congress, together with the Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker, International Campaign for Tibet, Freiheit für Hong Kong e.V, and the Tibet Initiative Deutschland, published a joint letter ahead of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s visit to China. The letter urges Chancellor Scholz to raise concerns about the human rights situation in Tibet, East Turkistan, Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia, and China itself with the Chinese government. Additionally, it calls on Chancellor Scholz to advocate for the rights of Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and Chinese individuals living in Germany.

Regarding the situation of Uyghurs in East Turkistan, the letter calls for the immediate end of the genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs, as recognized by various international bodies and parliaments; the immediate release of all Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples from internment camps and prisons. The letter furthermore demands an end to assimilation policies against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, with respect and protection of their cultural identity, language, and traditions. Lastly, it calls for the enforcement of the ‘Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ and immediate end to all forms of forced labour and modern slavery against Uyghurs.

Ahead of the Chancellor’s visit, the organisations have also organised a joint press conference with representatives from civil society and academia. During the press conference, the experts provided an up-to-date overview of the human rights situation in China and formulated their expectations of the Federal Chancellor’s trip to China. During his last visit in 2022, the German Chancellor’s remarks on human rights were brief, leading to disappointment from Uyghur and other rights groups.

World Uyghur Congress Issues Press Release on Eid Highlighting the Uyghur Genocide
On April 10, as the holy month of Ramadan ended, the World Uyghur Congress issued a press release wishing all Muslims around the world a blessed Eid Mubarak. However, amidst this celebratory time, the WUC also reflected on the ongoing plight of Uyghurs who are systematically denied their fundamental right to freedom of religion and belief under the repressive policies of the Chinese government. Additionally, the WUC brought attention to the specific repression faced by Uyghur women, noting a broader pattern of denying them agency and targeting their historical religious practices, such as wearing the hijab and participating in religious learning and gatherings. Furthermore, the WUC called upon Muslim leaders, Muslim-majority states, and organisations to break their silence and cease cooperation with the Chinese government in light of the Uyghur genocide. 

“Each year, Uyghurs in East Turkistan, are forbidden from observing Ramadan, as the Chinese government implements repressive measures targeting their religious liberties and human rights,” said World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa. “These actions underscore the Chinese government’s systematic campaign to eradicate the cultural, religious, and collective identity of the Uyghur people.”

World Uyghur Congress Director of Global Advocacy Receives Freedom of Worship Award
On April 11, the World Uyghur Congress Director of Global Advocacy, 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. 

The Four Freedoms Awards, named after Franklin D. Roosevelt’s historic speech in 1941 in front of the American Congress, honours individuals and organisations dedicated to upholding these four principles, in the name of human rights and freedom. Ms. Arkin has long been an advocate for the rights of Uyghurs, shedding light on the suppression of religious freedom and the Uyghur genocide. She has furthermore established global women’s groups to foster Uyghur solidarity and supports Uyghur refugees. Additionally, Ms. Arkin represents the WUC at international platforms like the United Nations, advocating for the preservation of Uyghur culture, religion, and language. 

“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”.

PARTICIPATE

The WUC is Hiring
The WUC is seeking an excellent candidate to join our dynamic team in the permanent position of Administrative Officer. Find more information on how to apply here.

Help the World Uyghur Congress to Continue Its Operations
As Ramadan comes to an end, the World Uyghur Congress calls for global solidarity. Your donation can help sustain our advocacy and support Uyghur individuals worldwide. Join us in our crucial efforts to make a difference. To donate and stand with us in solidarity, please visit this link. 

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.