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Weekly Brief, 2 June 2023

Weekly Brief, 2 June 2023


World Uyghur Congress Continues Advocacy in Latin America
On May 27, the World Uyghur Congress delegation arrived in São Paulo, Brazil and met with the Secretary for Human Rights of the City of São Paulo, Soninha Francine and her team as well as with the Latin America representative of Tibet House, Jigme Tsering and  the Human Rights Watch Director of Brazil, Maria Laura Canineu, to discuss Brazil’s human rights priorities. 

In São Paulo, WUC President Dolkun Isa was interviewed by journalist Maya Paixão for Folha, the most influential newspaper in Brazil, on his experience as an Uyghur activist facing transnational repression and the WUC’s demands for Brazil’s president Lula da Silva. The WUC team was furthermore received by Café de Manhã of Folha de S. Paulo, with whom WUC Program and Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin, and the International Service for Human Rights’ Program Manager, Raphaël Viana David, discussed Uyghur activism and the broader context of repressions faced by human rights activists. 

On May 30, the WUC delegation arrived in Argentina where they met with the President of Centro Islámico de la República Argentina, Fabian Ankah, and Secretary-General, Hasan El Bacha. Shortly after, the team visited Former Argentinian Senator, Norma Morandini, to learn about her family’s history, and to exchange best practices in countering authoritarian regimes. On the same day the WUC representatives had a productive meeting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Argentine Republic to discuss the broad range of violations faced by the Uyghurs and Turkic people. 

WUC Berlin Director Interviewed by Salaamedia
On May 31, the WUC Berlin Director, Gheyyur Kuerban, gave an interview to Salaamedia. Mr. Kuerban talked about the persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkistan since 2013 when the current president of China, Xi Jinping, came into power and declared a war on Islam. Under the rule of Xi Jinping the Uyghur population in East Turkistan has been forced to denounce their religious and cultural identity and over 16,000 mosques have been demolished. The WUC Berlin director also shared his own experience of harsh anti-Islamic policies, which he witnessed while living in East Turkistan. Some of the examples include the prohibition of praying, reading the Quran, wearing a headscarf, having a long beard and giving Muslim names to children. 

WUC Participates in Hearing of Uyghur Friendship Group in French Parliament
From May 23-25, World Uyghur Congress Berlin Director, Gheyyuer Kuerban and WUC Global Advocacy Officer, Marilena Stegbauer, travelled to Paris to participate in a hearing organised by the Study Group on Uyghurs in the French Parliament (Assemblée Nationale). During the hearing members of civil society and witnesses of missing family members in East Turkistan were given the floor to share their stories. The WUC delegation gave an overview of the latest developments in the region and highlighted the topic of transnational repression on French soil against Uyghurs and other human rights defenders. The WUC team also met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France as well as several parliamentarians to present WUC’s Annual Report and offer consultation.

New Developments on Uyghur Forced Labour and the EU’s Due Diligence Directive
On June 1,  the French senate voted unanimously on a motion, calling on the European Parliament and the EU Commision to thoroughly revise the EU’s forced labour draft proposal, introduced in September 2022 by the European Commission. The French Senate resolution demands the EU to establish a new trade mechanism aimed at banning the import of products manufactured with the use of Uyghur forced labour and products originating, even in part, from East Turkistan. Furthermore, it calls upon the EU to reinforce sanctions against the perpetrators of the Uyghur genocide and their accomplices. 

Further developments happened at the EU level, where the European Parliament voted in favour of the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD). The CSDDD proposal will help ensure that corporations identify, bring to an end, prevent, mitigate and account for negative human rights and environmental impacts in their own operations, subsidiaries and value chains. The proposal passed with 366 votes in favour and 225 against.

The WUC welcomes the in favour vote to the amended proposal brought forward by the legal affairs committee on 25 April, as this is a crucial step towards holding businesses accountable for their human rights violations. Nevertheless the legislation falls short in some key aspects, such as the expansion of the company scope to include Small and Medium Enterprises, the inclusion of the financial sector in key obligations and the effective access to justice for victims. The final agreement on the CSDDD will be reached after the inter-institutional negotiations (“trilogues”) of the EU Parliament, the Commission and the EU Council. 

US Lawmakers Introduce New Bill to Hold CCP Accountable for Atrocities in East Turkistan
On May 31 the U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Jeff Merkley introduced the Uyghur Genocide Accountability and Sanctions Act (UGASA). The bill would allow for the expansion of sanctions and travel restrictions of Chinese officials responsible for the ongoing Uyghur genocide, it would furthermore authorize the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to help the victims of genocide, allow them to counter Chinese propaganda, promote the preservation of cultural and linguistic heritages repressed by the CCP, mandate disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission of entities directly or indirectly engaged in activity supporting the CCP’s genocide in East Turkistan, and fund organizations documenting Uyghur human rights abuses.

Prior to that bill, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act was introduced to respond to the ongoing Uyghur genocide committed by the Chinese government. Shortly after, the Congress passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which banned all the products manufactured by using Uyghur forced labor.


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.