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Weekly Brief, 29 March 2024

Weekly Brief, 29 March 2024


Japanese Government Urged to Examine Uyghur Forced Labour Links
On March 19, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Japanese parliamentarians have called on the government to thoroughly investigate the connections between Uyghur forced labour in the aluminium industry and car manufacturers. The call comes after HRW released their newest report linking global car manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, Tesla, Volvo and General Motors to Uyghur forced labour in the aluminium industry. The members of the Nonpartisan Parliamentary Association for Reconsidering Human Rights Diplomacy are furthermore calling for a supply chain due diligence law. In their statement, the lawmakers announced the launch of a Parliamentary Federation to closely monitor the situation in Japan’s auto industry. They also called on all members of the National Diet for their support and active participation.

WUC U.K. Director Attends Event at US Holocaust Museum
On March 22, the World Uyghur Congress U.K. Director, Rahima Mahmut, spoke at the US Holocaust Museum’s event titled “We Don’t Even Know If They’re Alive,” shedding light on the genocide and human rights abuses against Uyghurs in East Turkistan. During the panel, Ms Mahmut shared her experiences as a Uyghur activist in the U.K. and provided crucial insights into the challenges facing the Uyghur community. The panel was moderated by human rights lawyer Naomi Kikoler and featured Uyghur activist, Muetter Iliqud and Senior Lecturer on East Asian History at the University of Manchester, Rian Thum. 

Additionally, the event, which focused on examining China’s treatment of Uyghurs, also featured insights from various experts, US government officials, and Holocaust survivor, Esther Starobin. Furthermore, the event showcased a special screening of the New Yorker’s film “Reeducated,” an Emmy Award-winning documentary featuring the testimonies of Erbaqyt Otarbai, Orynbek Koksebek, and Amanzhan Seituly.

U.K. Foreign Office Pauses Sanctions on China
On March 20, U.K. Member of Parliament, Sir Ian Duncan Smith, revealed that the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has “indefinitely” halted targeted sanctions on Chinese officials. MP Smith, who is among the British MPs sanctioned by Beijing, criticised the FCDO’s decision as “terrible” after raising it in the House of Commons.

Rahima Mahmut, the WUC U.K. Director, also criticised the decision and called on the U.K. government to reconsider its actions and take meaningful measures in response to the Uyghur genocide. “By disregarding the pleas of numerous survivors, NGOs, legal experts, and politicians who have consistently highlighted the genocide and crimes against humanity committed against Uyghurs under the CCP regime, the UK government is complicit in wilful ignorance,” she stated.

Uyghur Refugees in Pakistan Fear Deportation
On March 27, Gulchehra Hoja from Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported that the Pakistani government had decided to deport Afghan refugees, including 18 Uyghur families, who had been living in Pakistan for several years. The 100 Uyghurs are descendants of individuals who left East Turkistan to Afghanistan decades ago and subsequently sought refuge in Pakistan. Despite their long-term residency in the country, Pakistan has not granted them citizenship or any residency status. They remain registered as Afghan refugees. Although, the Pakistani government had decided in November 2023 to extend their stay for six months, the Uyghurs are expected to be deported alongside other Afghan migrants after Eid al-Fitr on April 9. 

Prominent Uyghur Publisher Sentenced to Prison
On March 23, Radio Free Asia highlighted the arrest of the prominent Uyghur publisher, Erkin Emet. This has been revealed by the Norwegian Uyghur Hjelp foundation, established by Abduweli Ayup, who shared that the 65-year-old intellectual was among a list of detained well-known scholars. According to the foundation, the Chinese government accused Mr. Emet of inciting separatism and sentenced him to an unknown period of time. Mr. Emet was detained during the “Hui Tou Kan,” or “Looking Back” crackdown in 2018 for publishing and distributing books such as “Altun Kesh,” or “Golden Shoes,” by Halide Israel and another book, by Zordun Sabir, titled “Ana Yurt,” or “Motherland”. 


The WUC is Hiring
The WUC is seeking an excellent candidate to join our dynamic team in the permanent position of Administrative Officer. Find more information on how to apply here.

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.