Weekly Brief, 20 November 2020

NEWS

WUC Hosts Two-Day Virtual Roundtable “Unite for Rights to End CCP Repression”.
On November 13 and 14, the WUC hosted a virtual roundtable with Uyghur, Tibetan, HongKonger, Taiwanese, Southern Mongolian leaders, MEPs, and international NGOs on “China’s Threat to Global Democracy and Human Rights, Unite for Rights: Coming Together to End CCP Repression”. During the various discussions, participants underscored the need to foster solidarity and improve relations between each other and ethnic and religious communities facing repression and human rights violations from the Chinese government. They also discussed future joint advocacy efforts in international institutions such as the UN and the EU. 

Sayragul Sauytbay Testifies in German Bundestag Committee
On November 18, the Sayragul Sauytbay was invited to testify during a hearing of the  Committee for Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid of the German Bundestag on the human rights situation in China. She shared her experience of the internment camps in East Turkistan, adding to the mounting evidence of the unfolding Uyghur genocide. Testimonies like those of Ms. Sauytbay are essential in urging the international communities to take meaningful action to end the atrocities.

WUC Urges Businesses to Address Uyghur Human Rights Violations during UN Forum 
On the 16th of November, on the occasion of the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, the World Uyghur Congress and the International Service for Human Rights published a joint statement calling upon participating businesses to keep their human rights obligations in the Uyghur Region in the foreground. “Between 1.8 to 3 million Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples have been put in camps in China”, Zumretay Arkin of the WUC said. “Many of these camps are connected to cotton and clothing production facilities where Uyghur detainees are forced to work, which are major global sources of both cotton and clothing production. Virtually the entire clothing industry is potentially implicated”. 

Canada’s UN Ambassador and Others Call on UN to investigate Uyghur Genocide
On November 15th, CBC News reported that Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, called on the UN Human Rights Council to investigate whether China’s crimes against Uyghurs should be considered a genocide. Gathering information, Mr. Rae said, is important in “making sure that we’ve got the evidence that would support that kind of an allegation”. Echoing the Ambassador’s concerns, on November 17th, an international group of MPs sent a formal letter to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, calling for immediate actions to address the Uyghur crisis, including a Special Envoy or investigative mechanisms and to publicly support calls for the UNHRC to hold a special session on the crisis. Over the past years, the WUC has echoed these calls highlighting the need for an international mission to investigate the Uyghur genocide, which requires meaningful access to East Turkistan and the freedom to perform interviews unhampered by the Chinese authorities.

British MPs Urge UK Government to Sanction Chinese Officials over Uyghur Rights Abuses
On the 16th of November, the Telegraph reported that a group of 20 British MPs and peers submitted a dossier to Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, saying that eight senior Chinese officials and organisations should be sanctioned by the United Kingdom for their role in the repression, torture and abuse of Uyghurs. The dossier found that the Chinese officials had been implicated in an extensive campaign of repression including forced sterilisations and abortions, forced labour and “torture and inhuman and degrading” treatment in internment camps.

Volkswagen Continues to Operate a Car Plant in Urumqi Despite Criticism
On 12 November, BBC News reported that Volkswagen responded to criticism (like Jan Böhmermann’s) over continuing to operate a car plant in Urumqi, East Turkistan, amidst allegations of wide-scale human rights abuses in the region, including forced labor, tainting its factory work. Although Mr. Stephan Wollenstein, Volkswagen’s CEO in China, said forced labour is not present in the company’s car plant in Urumqi, he was unable to assure that its workforce – of which around 25% is made up of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups – had been formerly detained in an internment camp. This defence falls short. As part of the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region, the World Uyghur Congress has continuously called on companies to cease their operations in East Turkistan, as continuing to do so –  like Volkswagen – risks lending tacit support to the horrific human rights abuses against the Uyghur people.

WUC President Speaks at U.S. State Department Side-Event 
On the 16th of November, Campaign for Uyghurs and the World Uyghur Congress hosted a side event at the 2020 Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom, hosted by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the side event, titled “Uyghur Genocide: From Ideological Sinicization to Forced Labor”, WUC President, Dolkun Isa spoke about the lived reality of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan. “At its core, the crimes of the Chinese government are an attack on the very core of the Uyghur identity, on what it means to be Uyghur”, Mr. Isa said. “This is genocide. Everything that is unique about the Uyghur people is under attack: our language, culture, religion, history and ethnic identity.”

PARTICIPATE

Webinar on Chinese Propaganda and Disinformation 
Join the Webinar on “Chinese propaganda and disinformation in Belgium, Brussels and beyond” hosted by the European Foundation for Democracy and the U.S. State Department on November 24 at 16:00 (CET). Special guests are Samuel Cogolati, EMP, Zumretay Arkin, WUC Program and Advocacy Manager, and Lukas Andriuikaitis, Associated Director at Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab. Please register here

Support the Uyghur Tribunal
The Uyghur Tribunal, launched in September to investigate ongoing crimes committed by the CCP against the Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups, has launched its crowdfunding campaign. The Uyghur Tribunal is one of the most valuable initiatives to address the Uyghur plight. Your contributions make a real difference; act now by donating here!