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Weekly Brief, 26 January 2024

Weekly Brief, 26 January 2024
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World Uyghur Congress Attends China’s UPR
On January 23, the World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa and Director of Global Advocacy, Zumretay Arkin attended the 4th UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of China. The UPR is the Human Rights Council’s interstate review mechanism that schedules each UN Member State for a peer review of its human rights records every five years. China was last reviewed in 2018. During the review a wide range of countries criticised China’s treatment of Uyghurs, Tibetans and dissidents in Hong Kong. Dozens of member states raised a range of issues related to atrocity crimes in East Turkistan. This included mass, arbitrary detention, forced labour, the destruction and marginalisation of cultural heritage, religious persecution, coerced family planning policies, and reprisals against human rights defenders and civil society. Member states furthermore urged China to stop its repression against the Uyghurs, end violence against women, ensure that children in all regions including Tibet can use their mother tongue, ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), protect human rights defenders and stop reprisals. 

In a press release the WUC and UHRP called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to follow up on China’s implementation of recommendations in its 2022 assessment. “Today’s UPR sent a strong message to Beijing that the entire world is watching, and not only the West. Hearing some Global South members make strong recommendations was encouraging,” said the WUC President, Dolkun Isa

Prior to the UPR, the WUC organised a photo exhibition on the Xinjiang Police Files in front of the UN Broken Chair. Additionally, a joint protest against China’s genocidal policies was organised by the WUC and Tibetan activists outside the UN. 

China Asks Countries for Support Ahead of UPR Review
On January 22, Reuters reported that China has been trying to influence certain UN member states to praise its human rights records ahead of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The Chinese Mission furthermore urged the UN to prevent “Anti-China Separatists” from attending the review. According to diplomats, China tried to impact the process and prevent a fair and accurate review of its human rights record. The notes were sent by the Chinese Mission to the members of the U.N. Human Rights Council including United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, Antigua and Barbuda. Over 160 countries, both critics and allies of Beijing took part in the UPR. 

World Uyghur Congress Organises Advocacy Trip To France
On January 24, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and the Campaign for Uyghurs travelled to Paris, France to attend a lunch briefing organized by French Senator Antoinette Guhl. The briefing was also attended by Senators from Groupe Écologiste and Groupe Socialiste, Écologiste et Républicain. The delegation furthermore met with French MP Olivier Faure from the Socialist Party to raise the issues of Uyghur forced labour, China’s transnational repression and the need for UN accountability.

On January 25, the WUC President, Dolkun Isa met with President Jean-Marie Burguburu of the Commission consultative des Droits de l’Homme (CNCDH) and with UN Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders, Michel Forst. Mr. Isa attended the CNCDH plenary session, during which he briefed the Commission on the Uyghur Genocide, and discussed the need for strong EU regulations against forced labour.

The meeting was followed by a conference held at the Sorbonne University, organized by Amnesty International Sorbonne Nouvelle. The WUC President, Dolkun Isa addressed students and spoke about the current situation of Uyghurs.

New Study Reveals China’s Mass DNA Collection
On January 24, Nature published an article highlighting unethical forensic genetic studies, primarily centred around Tibetan and Uyghur populations. Yves Moreau from Leuven University has become deeply concerned about the ethics of studies that involve the collection of biometric data from vulnerable or oppressed groups of people, such as Uyghurs and Tibetans. He urges the retraction of these papers, as it cannot be guaranteed that free, informed consent was given. Over the last 5 years, more than 96 papers have raised concerns about genetic databases, yet only 12 of them have been retracted.

Abduweli Ayup, a Uyghur linguist previously detained in a Chinese concentration camp, provided chilling confirmation that DNA collections in the region are far from voluntary; prisoners are coerced into participating in the blood sample collection process. “How can we refuse? We are prisoners,” he emphasized.

Mr. Moreau further revealed that 60% of flagged papers have at least one co-author affiliated with a public-security bureau, law-enforcement entity, or include police officers in the sample collection. Despite this, the authors vehemently deny any police involvement in the sample collection process.


Join Us to Commemorate the Ghulja Massacre
Join the World Uyghur Congress, Stop Uyghur Genocide and the UK Uyghur Community on February 5, to commemorate the victims of the Ghulja massacre – demand life, human rights and freedom for the Uyghur people. More information here

Vote WUC
The WUC is honoured to be nominated for the ‘For Freedom Impact Award’ of Freedom United. Please vote for the WUC! (Votes are open for two weeks).

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.