Weekly Brief, 17 February 2023

Weekly Brief, 17 February 2023


World Uyghur Congress Participates in CESCR China Review, Calls for Renewed UN Action
On 15 and 16 February, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (CESCR) reviewed China’s human rights record. The UN Experts asked pointed questions on issues such as China’s treatment of Uyghurs and measures to end forced labour and arbitrary detentions, and raised in parallel reports by the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) to the Chinese government delegation. Following the review, the WUC and UHRP called for renewed action by governments and UN agencies.

On the sidelines of the CESCR review, the WUC and the Uyghur community organized a rally outside of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), demanding accountability for the Chinese government’s Uyghur genocide. Moreover, from 14-16 February, the WUC in cooperation with the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy held a photo exhibition in front of Palais Wilson in Geneva, titled ‘The Xinjiang Police Files: The Faces of the Uyghur Genocide’.

China Cancels Erkin Tuniyaz Visit Amid Backlash over Human Rights Abuses
Last week, a planned visit of “XUAR” Chairman Erkin Tuniyaz to Paris, London, and Brussels sparked a lot of criticism from Uyghur human rights groups and policy makers. As Tuniyaz is one of the leading actors in the Uyghur genocide, and has been sanctioned by the United States in 2021 for his complicity, the WUC and others urged the French, UK, and European Union representatives not to meet with Tuniyaz. 

In the UK, preparations for the prosecution of Tuniyaz were made, and on February 13th, the WUC and the UK Uyghur community came together in front of the Foreign Office to protest against the visit. The WUC was joined by MPs Sir Iain Duncan Smith and Baroness Helena Kennedy QC in calling on Foreign Secretary James Cleverly to meet Uyghur representatives instead. On February 13th, Politico reported that the Tuniyaz’ visit to the three capitals had been “postponed”, following the widespread backlash over his complicity in the Uyghur genocide. The WUC has welcomed this news, and urges the EU and the UK to sanction Tuniyaz and other complicit officials.

Human Rights Groups Urge EU to Suspend Meaningless ‘Human Rights Dialogue’ with China
On February 15th, the WUC together with nine other human rights organisations sent a letter to the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, ahead of the resumption of the EU-China human rights dialogue. The organisations repeated their earlier calls on the EU and its member states to suspend the EU-China human rights dialogue and to prioritise strong and concrete human rights outcomes across all areas of their relations with China. The letter urged the EU to Commit to following up on the OHCHR Uyghur report, map prospects for universal jurisdiction cases against Chinese officials, and call publicly for the release of all detained Uyghurs, among other recommendations.

In an ensuing press release, the organisations reiterated these points, with WUC President, Dolkun Isa, stating that “[t]he EU’s human rights dialogues with China have become increasingly meaningless because both sides know that Beijing can make no commitment and get away with it. The EU had gained momentum holding the Chinese government accountable for growing abuses in recent years; it should not dial back by returning to these tick-the-box exercises”, he added.


Donate to the World Uyghur Congress and support our efforts to end the Uyghur Genocide
With your donation, we can continue our national, EU and UN advocacy campaigns, provide capacity building for Uyghurs in the diaspora and continue our promotion of human rights, democracy, and religious freedom. Please donate 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 historical case.

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.