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Weekly Brief, 29 September

Weekly Brief, 29 September


Prominent Uyghur Scholar Dr. Rahile Dawut Sentenced to Life in Prison
On September 21, the Dui Hua Foundation, citing a Chinese government source, confirmed that acclaimed Uyghur scholar and expert on Uyghur folklore, Dr. Rahile Dawut, has been sentenced to life in prison. Dr. Rahile was enforcibly disappeared in 2017 and tried one year after her detention, in 2018, for endangering state security. Dr. Rahile’s disappearance follows suit in the Chinese government’s persecution of Uyghur intellectuals and religious figures. More than 300 cases of Uyghur intellectuals and other Turkic cultural scholars, who were detained and imprisoned, have been documented since 2016. 

In a press release the World Uyghur Congress denounced the sentencing. “This heartbreaking news comes at a time when Beijing is trying to aggressively show the world that things have returned to normal in East Turkistan”, said World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa. “The Chinese government wants to destroy the unique Uyghur ethnic identity and cultural heritage. By targeting our cultural elites and intellectuals, the preservation of our identity and history will be lost”.

World Uyghur Congress Calls for Release of Ilham Tohti on the 9th Anniversary of his Imprisonment
On September 25, the World Uyghur Congress issued a press release, renewing its calls for the immediate release of Uyghur scholar and professor, Ilham Tohti. September 23 marks 9 years since Professor Tohti was sentenced to life in prison by the Chinese government on the charges of “inciting separatism”. llham Tohti continuously advocated for the rights of the Uyghur people, constructively raised numerous issues facing the Uyghur people and worked diligently to foster dialogue and understanding between Uyghurs and Han for over two decades. He remains an inspirational figure for the Uyghur community and a symbol of the peaceful struggle for basic rights. His arrest and life imprisonment proved to be a tragic turning point in how the Chinese government has reacted to dissident voices. “Ilham Tohti’s life imprisonment is the first sign of the repressive policies to be implemented in East Turkistan’’, said WUC President, Dolkun Isa. ‘’His fate warned the entire Uyghur society that even peaceful and moderate voices were no longer tolerated.’’

World Uyghur Congress Attends 54th UN Human Rights Council
From September 26 – 29, the WUC President, Dolkun Isa and the WUC Director of Global Advocacy, Zumretay Arkin, attended the 54th UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. During the General Debate under Item 4, Mr. Isa spoke on behalf of Global Human Rights Defence (GHRD) raising alarm at the lack of accountability over China’s genocide of Uyghurs. He also called on UN Member States and the UN body to take action on the Uyghur situation. During his speech, Mr. Isa was interrupted by the Chinese Mission. 

On September 26, the UN Special Rapporteurs expressed their grave concern over allegations of an increase in state-run boarding schools in East Turkistan which forcibly separate Uyghur children from their families and enact repressive language policies. The experts warned that such practices by the Chinese government “will inevitably lead to a loss of connection with their families and communities and undermine their ties to their cultural, religious and linguistic identities.”

On September 28, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) and the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) organized a side-event on the Findings of the UN women’s rights committee on China, during which the WUC Director of Global Advocacy, Zumretay Arkin, spoke. In her speech Ms. Arkin highlighted the plight of Uyghur women who are deprived of normal family life, and subjected to arbitrary detention inside the Chinese concentration camps. She furthermore, raised the cases of Dr. Rahile Dawut and Dr. Gulshan Abbas, and the separation of Uyghur children from their parents. Calling on the United Nations, she stated that “It is crucial that member states continue to hold perpetrators to account. It is also essential that treaty bodies and UN mandate-holders continue to document these abuses to build a strong jurisprudence.”

DHS Bans Three Chinese Companies Over Uyghur Forced Labour
On September 26, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new enforcement actions to eliminate Uyghur forced labour in U.S. supply chains. In order to promote accountability for the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, three Chinese entities were added to the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA) Entity List: Xinjiang Tianmian Foundation Textile Co, Ltd , Xinjiang Tianshan Wool Textile Co. Ltd and Xinjiang Zhongtai Group Co. Ltd. This brings the total number of entities on the list to 27 companies.  


Joined Protest on China’s National Day
Join the World Uyghur Congress in London, together with Tibetans, Hongkongers, Southern Mongolians, Chinese, and others, to protest China’s ‘National Day’ on October 1. More information can be found here.

Join Our Protest For Human Rights and Freedom in China
On October 1, join the World Uyghur Congress in Berlin to protest against China’s human rights violations against Tibetans, Hongkongers, Mongolians and Uyghurs. More information can be found here.

Join the #WritersSupportUyghurs Campaign
The World Uyghur Congress will host an online panel featuring several award-winning and bestselling authors on Tuesday, October 17th, 2023, in response to the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) in China. More information and how to join the #WritersSupportUyghurs Campaign can be found here.

Help the World Uyghur Congress Establish an Uyghur Cultural-Centre
The World Uyghur Congress is raising funds to establish an Uyghur Cultural-Centre in Munich; a dedicated space where the Uyghur community and everyone interested in the Uyghur culture can come together to learn and preserve the rich Uyghur cultural heritage. With the generous support and help of the Uyghur community worldwide, we have already achieved 80% of the total amount needed to purchase the necessary facilities. Your support can help us to get the final 20%. Please donate and share!

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.