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Weekly Brief, 18 August 2023

Weekly Brief, 18 August 2023


World Uyghur Congress Program- and Advocacy Manager in Interview
The WUC Program- and Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin, together with the co-founder of the Uyghur Youth Initiative, Esma Memtimin, spoke with the German news outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung about their experiences as Uyghur activists. Both Ms Arkin and Ms Memtimin are part of the 1500 Uyghurs living in exile in Germany, where the awareness on China’s genocide against Uyghurs, despite growing evidence, is rather limited. Although China is trying to silence Uyghurs who speaking out about China’s repressive policies through intimidation and harassment techniques during demonstrations and the arbitrary detention of their family members in East Turkistan, the activists find strength within their community to continue with their work.

“I knew I was going to be on the so-called ‘blacklist’ of the Chinese government”, said WUC Program and Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin. “Although my work has a lot of consequences for me and my family, I still choose to do it. I know that things will change.”

Ralph Lauren Canada under Investigation for the Use of Uyghur Forced Labour
On August 16, the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE) released its Initial Assessment reports for Ralph Lauren Canada LP and the Canadian mining company, GobiMin over Uyghur forced labour allegations. The investigation into fashion company Ralph Lauren comes after a complaint submitted in 2022 by a coalition of human rights groups, stating that Ralph Lauren Canada had supply relationships with eight Chinese companies complicit in Uyghur forced labour. Two of these eight companies – Youngor Textile Holdings Co. Ltd. and Jiangsu Guotai Guosheng – are now being investigated. Mehmet Tohti, Executive Director of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project (URAP) said the world is watching how the Canadian government will respond to these allegations. “CORE’s announcement is a valued step in the right direction to hold Canadian companies accountable for their human rights violations abroad, specifically those which profit the CCP’s diminishment of Uyghurs’ basic human rights and their policies of genocide.” 

This is the third investigation announced by CORE since it started receiving complaints in 2021. Nike Canada and Canadian mining company Dynasty Gold are also under investigation for using Uyghur forced labour.

UHRP Calls on U.S. Government to Impose Sanctions on Hikvision and Dahua
On August 14, the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) issued a press release calling on the Biden administration to impose an investment ban on Chinese surveillance companies, Hikvision and Dahua, which are complicit in the Uyghur genocide. Since 2011, multiple publicly traded companies have been under an investment ban by the US government. This ban however excludes Dahua and Hikvision as non-publicly traded entities. Following the White House Executive Order from August 9, which bans US investment in certain Chinese technology industries, the UHRP calls on the U.S. and other countries to implement similar restrictions on private equity and venture capital. UHRP Executive Director, Omer Kanat, stated that American citizens should not be allowed to “directly support Chinese companies that have quite literally implemented Chinese government policies to identify, track, monitor, and control an entire population based on their ethnicity”.

World Uyghur Congress Together With Other Organizations Call for End of Enforced Disappearances
On August 14, the WUC together with Frontline Defenders and other organisations issued a joint letter calling on the Chinese authorities to immediately release prominent human rights lawyer, Gao Zhisheng. The organisations furthermore raise attention to the practice of enforced disappearances used by the Chinese government against Uyghurs, Tibetans and other human rights defenders. Hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs have been subjected to the systematic use of enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention through China’s legal system, among them Qurban Mamut, Ekpar Asat and Gulshan Abbas. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) urged China in November 2022 to “immediately release all individuals arbitrarily detained in [East Turkistan], and to provide relatives of those detained or disappeared with detailed information about their status and well-being.”


Help the World Uyghur Congress Establish an Uyghur Cultural-Centre
The World Uyghur Congress is raising funds to establish an Uyghur Cultural-Centre in Munich; a dedicated space where the Uyghur community and everyone interested in the Uyghur culture can come together to learn and preserve the rich Uyghur cultural heritage. With the generous support and help of the Uyghur community worldwide, we have already achieved 80% of the total amount needed to purchase the necessary facilities. Your support can help us to get the final 20%. Please donate and share! 

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.