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Weekly Brief, 28 April 2023

Weekly Brief, 28 April 2023


WUC Delegation Visits Stockholm
This week, a World Uyghur Congress (WUC) delegation, led by President Dolkun Isa, is visiting Stockholm, Sweden, for a series of advocacy meetings, awareness raising events, as well as a youth workshop that is held from 28-30 April. The WUC and the Swedish Uyghur Union delegation met with Members of Parliament Olle Thorell, Magnus Berntsson, Gudrun Brunegård, Yusuf Aydin, Jacob Risberg, and Aylin Fazelian. The WUC further met with Amnesty International and PEN Sweden.

On April 27th, the WUC organised a panel discussion at the premises of Human Rights Watch (HRW) Sweden, discussing what the Swedish government can do for Uyghurs. Panellists included WUC President Dolkun Isa and Program & Advocacy Manager Zumretay Arkin, camp survivors Qelbinur Sidik and Sayragul Sauytbay, and HRW’s Nordic Director Måns Molander.

WUC Launches 2022 Annual Report
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) has released its 2022 annual report on the human rights situation in East Turkistan, highlighting the most important developments of the past year. The report documents the alarming reality that Uyghurs and other Turkic people in the region continue to face, paying particular attention to China’s zero-Covid policy, forced labour, arbitrary detention, and transnational repression. The report also documents the international community’s increased efforts to address these human rights abuses, and to hold those responsible to account.

“2022 has been a remarkable year for the Uyghur people. While we have accomplished very important achievements, the Uyghur genocide still has not been brought to an end,” said WUC President, Dolkun Isa. “Therefore, we need to redouble efforts to make sure the Uyghur genocide stays on the political agenda, and that our key recommendations to both the Chinese government and the international community are followed up.”

To announce the annual report to the broader public, the WUC held an online launch event on April 25th. Panellists, which included WUC’s Dolkun Isa and Zumretay Arkin, Canadian Member of Parliament Sameer Zuberi, Anti-Slavery International’s Hélène de Rengerve, and International Service for Human Rights’ Raphael Viana David, discussed various events in 2022, and shared their expectations for the coming year.

Uyghur Refugee Dies in Thai Immigration Center after Nine Years in Detention
On April 24th, the World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur Human Rights Project expressed their grief over the death of Mr. Mattohti Mattursun (Muhammad Tursun), an Uyghur refugee who had been in Thai detention for over nine years, since March 2014. He was 40 years old and died of suspected liver failure, and his family’s whereabouts are unknown. Muhammed Tursun was one of almost 50 Uyghur detainees, most of whom are being held at IDC Suan Phlu, the Bangkok Immigration detention centre. He is the second Uyghur man from this group to die in the last two months.

“The international community has failed to protect these Uyghur refugees in Thailand for nine long years,” said World Uyghur Congress President Dolkun Isa. “We continue to be concerned about the harsh conditions of detention, which we fear can only lead to the death of all remaining detainees.”

First Uyghur Female Elected to Parliament
On April 24th, The World Uyghur Congress applauded the election of Arfiya Eri (Alfiya Hidetoshi) to the Japanese Lower House in Chiba’s 5th district, on April 23rd. She became the first Uyghur female to be elected to any Parliament, with 50.578 votes (30,58%), and the first Uyghur-Japanese politician to hold a seat in the Japanese parliament. Arfiya was selected as a new member of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). “This historic victory is significant for the Uyghur Japanese community, as well as the global Uyghur diaspora community”, the WUC statement reads. “The WUC firmly believes that she will serve the interests of the Japanese citizens, and the country, at the same time raising the Uyghur issue in the Japanese Parliament and other high-level forums.”