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Weekly Brief, 23 February 2024

Weekly Brief, 23 February 2024

NEWS

World Uyghur Congress Attends Munich Security Conference
From February 16-18, the World Uyghur Congress attended the Munich Security Conference (MSC), the world’s leading forum for debating international security policy. On the first day, on the margins of the MSC, the WUC co-hosted a Meshrep event together with the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), highlighting the importance of preserving Uyghur culture and fostering cross-movement solidarity. The event was moderated by NED President, Damon Wilson, and speakers included Adiljan from the Uyghur Transitional Justice Database, Ray Wong from Freiheit für Hongkong e.V., and Tenzyn Zöchbauer from the Tibet Initiative Deutschland. The event was furthermore accompanied by a group of Uyghur musicians and a dance group who performed for the numerous guests, which included NGOs, journalists, and politicians.

On the following days, the WUC president, Dolkun Isa attended the main program of the MSC. During one of the panels, Mr. Isa asked a crucial question to a Qatari diplomat on China’s position on global conflicts. “On one side, China is locking up millions of Uyghurs, and on the other, it’s appearing to support Palestinians and other Muslims. How honest is their attitude?” Additionally, Mr. Isa attended the panel “Rebels with a Cause: Voices of Civil Resistance” which was moderated by the Former U.S. Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton and joined by prominent speakers like the President of the World Liberty Congress,  Masih Alinejad, President-elect of Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhahanouskaya, Burmese politician, Zin Mar Aung and the CEO of Rappler, Maria Ressa. Mr. Isa furthermore met Lithuanian foreign minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis; former Croatian president, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović; Polish foreign minister, Radosław Sikorski. He also met Peter Van Praagh, the President of the Halifax Forum; Josh Rogin from the Washington Post and Annie Boyajian from Freedom House. 

World Uyghur Congress President Attends the World Forum
On February 20, the World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa, spoke at the World Forum and attended the Gala dinner organised by the Cinema for Peace Foundation. The World Forum serves as a platform that convenes politicians and civil society organisations to discuss crucial socio-political issues of our time. During the Gala Dinner, Mr. Isa met the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, and expressed his gratitude for her prioritisation of Uyghur human rights in bilateral relations with China. He also conversed with the German MP Ulrich Lechte and other politicians. 

Prior to the event, Mr. Isa President was invited by the Member of German Bundestag, Michael Brand to an important event on transnational repression at the German Parliament. During this event, Mr. Isa shared his own experiences of transnational repression and highlighted the methods employed by the Chinese government to spy on and harass Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Hong Kongers living overseas.

World Uyghur Congress UK Office Director Calls for Action Against Uyghur Forced Labour
On February 18, Politics Home published an article spotlighting the call to action by Rahima Mahmut, the UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress, regarding Uyghur forced labour. Ms. Mahmut urged the UK government to implement import bans on goods linked to Uyghur forced labour and technological surveillance in East Turkistan. She specifically emphasised the need for restrictions on the importation of solar panels and cotton-based products known to be produced using Uyghur slave labor. “In my opinion, the UK government is still sleepwalking and not taking significant action, especially regarding the procurement of solar panels,” Ms Mahmut remarked.

Cambridge University Students Launch Uyghur Rights Campaign
On February 16, The Varsity reported on the launch of the Uyghur Rights Campaign by Cambridge University students in response to the university’s inactivity regarding the Uyghur genocide. The campaign is supported by Cambridge University Amnesty International. The students prepared two open letters titled “Uyghur-Genocide Complicity Letter” and “Faculty Complicity Letter,” addressed to the Vice Chancellor and the AMES Faculty, respectively, urging them to sever all ties with Chinese companies involved in the Uyghur genocide, such as Huawei, which has provided more than £28 million to the University since 2016. Additionally, they called for the faculty to halt the yearly abroad placement programs for Chinese studies students, and for the university to issue a public statement condemning the genocide, and to establish a Genocide-Studies Forum and a Uyghur Research Fund.

World Uyghur Congress Co-Organizes Parliamentary Breakfast at German Bundestag
On February 22, the Uyghur Friendship Group in the German Bundestag together with the Tibetan and Hong Kong friendship groups under the chairmanship of MdB Derya Türk-Nachbaur, MdB Peter Heidt, MdB Michael Brand, MdB Boris Mijatovic and Ms. Gyde Jense co-organized a parliamentary breakfast to bring attention to the current human rights situation of these groups. The event was attended by WUC-President, Dolkun Isa and also joined by civil society leaders and journalists, who showed their support and solidarity for the human rights of the Uyghur, Tibetan, and Hong Kong communities, which are facing unprecedented repression by the Chinese government.

PARTICIPATE

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.