Weekly Brief, 27 January 2023
WUC Receives Judgment in Case Against UK Government
On 20 January 2023, judgment was handed down in the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) case against the UK government. The case challenged the failure of HMRC, the Home Office and the National Crime Agency to stop the importation of cotton produced by the forced labour of Uyghurs in East Turkistan. Sadly, the court ruled in favour of the authorities.
In his judgment, judge Dove highlighted at the outset that the extensive evidence underlying the WUC’s case in relation to the mistreatment of the Uyghur people and the involvement of abuses in the production of cotton in East Turkistan is not the subject of dispute by the Defendants. He concluded by emphasising that “[t]he outcome of the case does not in any way undermine the striking consensus in the evidence that there are clear and widespread abuses in the cotton industry in [East Turkistan], involving human rights violations and the exploitation of forced labour.”
”This is a greatly disappointing outcome for the Uyghur community that has been seeking accountability for years. However, this is only the beginning of such a process, with this case being the first in a foreign court. Our legal team has worked hard on this, and together we will continue to hold the Chinese government accountable,” said Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress.
UK Universities’ Risky Ties with China
On January 22nd, the Times published an investigation that found that some 42 British universities have links with Chinese institutions connected to “the repression of the Uyghurs, espionage, nuclear weapons research or hacking. “More worryingly, some 21 top universities, including Cambridge, Sheffield, Leeds and Queen Mary University of London, are partnered with ‘very high risk’ Chinese institutions,” it said, adding that the government has warned that China is “openly harvesting foreign research” to aid its military development and human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic peoples.
New ISHR Briefing Paper on Chinese influence at UN Human Rights Treaty Bodies
On January 25th, ISHR released a new briefing paper outlining China’s tactics to influence the UN human rights treaty bodies (UNTBs), including various ways in which Chinese officials have sought to disrupt, limit and undermine their work. The paper concludes with possible responses to these efforts, on the part of governments and the UN itself.
‘The UN system is far from perfect. It is tilted towards major powers. Though UN treaty bodies are not a silver bullet, they are an entry point to raise issues to the international community, they serve to depoliticise issues and they are a platform for defenders to present their stories,’ said Uyghur Human Rights Project’s (UHRP) Peter Irwin.
Vote for the WUC for the Freedom Now Award
The WUC is honoured to have been nominated for the For Freedom Impact Award by Freedom United for our campaign to end Uyghur forced labour. The For Freedom Spotlight Award is in recognition of organisations leading on impactful campaigns that have focused attention and raised awareness of changes needed to end modern slavery. Please support the WUC by voting for us here!
Donate to the World Uyghur Congress and support our efforts to end the Uyghur Genocide
With your donation, we can continue our national, EU and UN advocacy campaigns, provide capacity building for Uyghurs in the diaspora and continue our promotion of human rights, democracy, and religious freedom. Please donate 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 historical case.
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.