WEEKLY BRIEF – 16 APRIL 2021

The WUC Endorses the Legal Complaint Against 4 France-Based Companies
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) endorses the formal complaint submitted by French lawyer William Bourdon, on behalf of Mrs Tursunay Ziyawudun and of the organisations Collectif Éthique Sur l’Étiquette, Sherpa and the European Uyghur Institute (IODE), against four France-based multinational companies.

The complaint was submitted against INDITEX FRANCE, UNIQLO FRANCE, SMCP and SKECHERS USA FRANCE over allegations of their involvement in Uyghur forced labour. The complaint argues that given the overwhelming reports of forced labour in East Turkistan, and the ongoing repression against the Uyghurs and Turkic people, multinational companies must be held accountable under French criminal law, for distributing products made with forced labour on French soil.

On April 16, Program and Advocacy Manager Zumretay Arkin was present on behalf of WUC at the press conference in Paris announcing the complaint.

Turkish Court Rejects China’s Request to Extradite Uyghur Religious Teacher
On April 9, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that a Turkish court has rejected China’s request to extradite a Uyghur religious teacher, Abduqadir Yapchan, to face “terrorism” charges. Though it affirms China’s unfounded allegations against Uyghurs, such requests limit rights and freedoms, as Mr. Yapchan experienced detention as well as house arrest since 2016.

China Denounced Uyghur Women
On the 13th of April, RFA reported that China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denounced more than a dozen former residents of the Uyghur region who have testified about the abuses in the region while living abroad, smearing them as liars, criminals, terrorists, and persons of “bad morality”. These wrong allegations were started during the “Seventh Press Conference on Xinjiang-related Issues”, one of several the ministry has held in the last month to undermine reports on human rights abuses. 

This week, the NGO Justice for All honored Uyghur camp survivor Gulbahar Jelilova as one of the four “Heroes of the Year” for her efforts drawing international attention to the horrific abuses women are enduring in the internment camps. 

UK All-Party Motion on Uyghur Genocide
On April 14, the Guardian reported that an all-party motion in the UK House of Commons is set to be introduced on whether the Uyghur crisis constitutes crimes of genocide and crimes against humanity. ” The Vote for this motion will take place on the 22 April and requires a two third majority. 

US and Germany Change Refugee Procedure for Uyghurs
Responding to the Uyghur refugee crisis, the US Senate has introduced the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act, which would grant Uyghurs Priority 2 refugee status, allowing them to apply directly as refugees to the US government.

This week, the German government relaxed the requirements for family reunification of Uyghur asylum seekers. According to the new procedure, they are not required to submit documents authorised by the Chinese authorities.

UN Mandates Issued a Communication on Gulbahar Jalilova
10 UN mandates have issued a communication on the case of Gulbahar Jalilova, a Uyghur former camp detainee who now lives in France. The communication highlights in detail the conditions inside the camps that are in breach of international law. The communication was also sent to the Chinese government. 

Uyghur Workers are Advertised on the Chinese Internet
On 16 April, Sky News reported that the Chinese internet contains many posts advertising Uyghur labour, in batches of 50 to 100 workers. Furthermore, it reported that Uyghurs working in other parts of China are subjected to “political” checks and work under strict “half-military” style management.