Weekly Brief, 26 May 2023
World Uyghur Congress Begins Advocacy in Latin America
On May 24, World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa, WUC Program and Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin, the UHRP Executive Director, Omer Kanat, Hong Kong activist Alex Chow and ISHR Program Manager, Raphaël Viana David arrived in Brazil for various advocacy and awareness-raising activities with different stakeholders. Brazil is the first country the WUC is visiting as part of the WUC’s Latin America advocacy.
The delegation met with the President, Vice President and a Member of the Human Rights Commission of the Federal Bar Association of Brazil (OAB), to discuss the current situation of Uyghurs and the international response, specifically, the UN response to the Uyghur human rights crisis. The OAB has been at the forefront in defending human and civil rights and in upholding democratic institutions. Some of the key UN reports and documentations on Uyghur human rights violations were also provided to the OAB members. Additionally, the WUC spoke about the Criminal Case filed in Argentina over China’s Treatment of Uyghurs, as well as forced labour cases in the UK and Ireland, and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). Furthermore, future collaborations, including invitations to panel discussions and joined campaigns were discussed.
The WUC team also met with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil and Congresswoman Fernanda Melchionna, to discuss the existing independent reports on the Uyghur issue, including the OHCHR report.
World Uyghur Congress Deeply Troubled by Türkiye’s Interior Minister’s Remarks about Uyghurs
On May 24, the World Uyghur Congress raised their concerns about Türkiye’s Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu’s remarks about Uyghurs. On 22 May, Minister Soylu stated in an interview with CNN Turk that the US is trying to take control over Türkiye’s domestic politics and pressure China through the Uyghurs, reiterating the Chinese official narrative and instrumentalising the Uyghur genocide.
“It is regrettable that Minister Soylu has politicised the Uyghur genocide in the midst of national elections”, said WUC President Dolkun Isa. “The human rights violations committed by China should be a concern to everyone, including Türkiye. This is not an issue to advance political agendas, this is a human issue.’’
Up to 50,000 Uyghurs escaped China and found a safe haven in Türkiye, a key ally in the international fora for Uyghurs. Türkiye previously condemned China’s repressive policies several times at the UN Human Rights Council.
The WUC once again calls upon the international community to take meaningful and concrete actions to end the Uyghur genocide and strongly opposes any politicisation of it.
WUC Berlin Director Speaks at the ‘Pillar of Shame’ Opening
On May 22, the WUC Berlin Director, Gheyyur Kuerban, spoke at the opening of the Axel Springer Freedom Foundation’s memorial “Pillar of Shame”. The eight-metre-high memorial was created by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt to commemorate the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, in which Chinese authorities suppressed pro-democracy protests and killed at least ten thousand people. Until 2021 the Tiananmen Square massacre monument stood in Hong Kong and used to be a symbol of freedom before it was demolished. The monument in Berlin is an exact replica.
During the event, the WUC Berlin Director, Gheyyur Kuerban, said: “By actively targeting memorials and sights of historical significance like the Pillar of Shame, the CCP is robbing people of the right to gather, remember, mourn, and, most importantly, the right to truth. China made its crime of eroding democracy in Hong Kong legal by passing the “National Security Act” in 2020. It is covering up its crimes by removing everything that may remind people of these acts of violence and injustice.”
WUC UK Director Gives Interview to Sky News
On May 18, the WUC UK Director, Rahima Mahmut, gave an interview to Sky News regarding a new report by Helen Ann-Smith, the Sky News Asia correspondent, who managed to visit the Uyghur region. The report describes the mass detention of Uyghurs since 2017. The Chinese government has been claiming that all camps are closed, however the report states that there is evidence proving that most of the camps are still operating and most of the Uyghurs are still detained there.
During the interview, Rahima added that only a small number of people are released due to poor psychological and physical conditions inside the detention centres. She confirmed that the CCP’s campaign against Uyghurs is a campaign of mass incarceration where up to 3 million of Uyghurs are arbitrarily detained and in some cases 14 members of one family are being taken to camps and are given long term imprisonment despite not committing any crime. She also said that as the UK government recognised the Uyghur genocide, it should fulfill its responsibility under the Genocide Convention and take action against the companies involved in the Uyghur forced labor.
Sir Geoffrey Nice also gave an interview to Sky News where he said that the UK Uyghur Tribunal has “proved beyond reasonable doubt” that “genocide by interference with birth” has been committed in China.
U.S. Select Committee adopts Policies on Uyghur Genocide and Taiwan
On May 24 the Select Committee on China adopted six recommendations on the Uyghur Genocide and Taiwan’s deterrence. The first set of policy recommendations were developed after the Committe’s hearing in March, where a witness and two survivors of the Uyghur genocide testified. The second set stems from April where the costs of a deterrence failure in the Indo-Pacific region were estimated. The updated guidelines from the Select Committee on the CCP includes ensuring that the Chinese government’s officials are penalised for their atrocities against the Uyghurs; strengthening U.S. diplomatic efforts in relation to the CCP’s genocide against the Uyghurs and other Turkic people; strengthening the import bans on goods produced by using Uyghur forced labor; restricting U.S. capital flows to Chinese companies and technology sectors which are involved in Uyghur human rights violations; applying the sanctions required by the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act by the Biden Administration and lastly, working with allies to protect Uyghurs in third countries and providing refugee status and asylum for eligible Uyghurs.
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.