WEEKLY BRIEF, 30 OCTOBER 2020
75th anniversary of the UN
On the occasion of the UN’s 75th anniversary, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) reiterates its calls on the UN and its Member States in a Press Release to meaningfully address the Uyghur crisis and hold the Chinese government accountable for its crimes.
Founded against the backdrop of the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust, the UN was established as the main intergovernmental orginization to prevent such atrocities from happening again.Since 2017, millions of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in internment camps in East Turkistan, where they are exposed to torture, sexual abuse, and forced labour, amongst other atrocities. This mass detention is part of the Chinese government’s targeted attack on every expression of a distinct Uyghur ethnic identity, including the destruction of mosques, shrines and graveyards, bans on the Uyghur language, and separation of Uyghur children from their families. Furthermore, the Chinese authorities have implemented a scheme to suppress Uyghur birthrates in East Turkistan, subjecting Uyghur women to forced abortions, mass sterilizations and other anticonceptive measures.
The words ‘never again’, voiced by the founders of the United Nations in 1945 and many others since, signify a moral commitment to prevent what is happening to the Uyghurs today. In this light, the silence and inaction of the UN on the Uyghur genocide have become all the more poignant.
Coronavirus Outbreak in the Prefecture of Kashgar
On October 26, the Guardian reported that in prefecture of Kashgar the Chinese authorities detected 139 new coronavirus cases making the first new local cases for 10 days in China. New evidence from October 29 reveal that China’s largest corona outbreak in months has been linked to a forced labour factory in Konashahar and that the number of cases has increased to 180. The factory of Shuchang Garment is a satellite factory for producing clothing, curtains and bedding. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) the apparel factory is located only four miles from a detention facility. It is likely that the apparel factory is linked to forced or coercive Uyghur labour. The WUC is highly concerned that the coronavirus might spread to one of the 1000 internment camps, in which 1.8-3 Million Uyghurs and others are detained under horrible living conditions.
This month the US Embassy in Berlin and the US Consulate Munich held a US-Uyghur week. Throughout the week Uyghur and Tibetan youth living in Germany testified on the suffering of their family members in East Turkistan and Tibet. In order to highlight the Uyghur crisis the US Consulate in Munich hosted three live interviews with WUC President, Dolkun Isa, WUC Project and Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin and President of the East Turkistan Union in Europe, Asgar Can. Furthermore, WUC President, Dokun Isa, and the Deputy Chief of Mission in Berlin, Robin S. Quinville, published an OpEd in the German newspaper Focus online calling on the international community to hold the Chinese government accountable for its massive human rights violations.
In another important development, Senator Mark Rubio, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Jim Risch and Senator Bob Menendez introduce a bi-partisan resolution to designate abuses against Uyghurs in East Turkistan as genocide this week, joining the growing chorus of voices making describing the Uyghur crisis as a genocide.
100 MEPs signed a joint letter to the European Commission
On 23 October, 100 MEPs submitted a joint letter to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the Vice-President,Vladis Dombrivskis, calling for an import ban on Chinese companies using forced labour. “Facing this abjection, Europe must act to protect the lives and fundamental rights of Uyghurs. The EU should use its trade and market power to safeguards the founding principles enshrined in our Treaties and guiding our external policies’ ‘ they wrote in their letter.
EU Using Chinese Cameras linked to Internmentcamps
On October 26, DW reported that two EU institutions are using security equipment produced by China’s Hikvision, a company accused of providing surveillance equipment to the internment camps in East Turkistan. Officials at the European Parliament and the European Commission ordered Hikvision thermal imaging cameras as part of their coronavirus prevention strategy. The US government decided to blacklist the company in October last year due to its involvement in severe human rights violations. This was met with condemnation by MEPs and activists who called on the EU not to do business with a company directly complicit in atrocities against Uyghurs.
WUC Representatives Speak at the Investor Alliance for Human Rights Webinar
On October 29, WUC Program & Advocacy Manager, Zumretay Arkin and WUC’s UK Director, Rahima Mahmut spoke at the webinar organised by the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility. This webinar was directed for the corporate audience, to give them a better understanding of the overall repression in East Turkistan. Both panelists spoke about the human rights violations unfolding in the region, and shared their personal stories.
Parliamentarian Breakfast in the German Bundestag
Join the digital parliamentarian breakfast entitled “Crime against humanity unfolding before the eyes of the world – conversation with witnesses from the detention center in Xinjiang” hosted by the MP Margarete Bause and MP Frank Schwabe on 11/04/2020 from 8-9 am. Please register here!
Supporting the Uyghurs Webinar
On November 11 from 2.00pm-3.00pm, Afzal Kahn, MP, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Vice Chair of the APPG on Uyghurs, is hosting a webinar on how the Uyghur cause could be supported. Special guests are WUC London representative, Rahima Mahmud, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers, MP and Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy, MP and Shadow Foreign Minister for Asia & Pasific, Stephen Kinock and Chief Executive Officer British Muslim Heritage Center, Maqsood Ahmad.
Support the Uyghur Tribunal
The Uyghur Tribunal, launched in September to investigate ongoing crimes committed by the CCP against the Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups, has launched its crowdfunding campaign. The Uyghur Tribunal is one of the most valuable initiatives to address the Uyghur plight. Your contributions make a real difference; act now by donating here!