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Weekly Brief, 9 February 2024

Weekly Brief, 9 February 2024

NEWS

World Uyghur Congress Commemorates Ghulja Massacre
On February 5, the Uyghur community commemorated the 27th anniversary of the Ghulja Massacre. In 1997 thousands of Uyghurs gathered in Ghulja, Ili prefecture, to peacefully protest against Chinese aggression and the prohibition of the Uyghur Meshrep. The peaceful protest was met with a violent crackdown from the Chinese authorities, leading to at least 100 deaths, numerous injuries, and the arrest of nearly 4,000 demonstrators, with 200 facing the death penalty.

The World Uyghur Congress issued a press release in commemoration, calling on the international community to reflect on the lessons of Ghulja and take decisive action. “Over the past 27 years, the Chinese government’s assault on Uyghur rights has intensified, turning into a genocide,” said World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa. “Under Xi Jinping’s leadership, arbitrary arrests, suppression of cultural heritage, and increased repression of Uyghurs both in East Turkistan and abroad have become widespread.”

In London, as well as in Munich, the WUC held joint protests in front of the Chinese Embassy, to remember the victims and demand justice.

New UHRP Report on the Persecution of Uyghur Women’s Religious Practices
On February 1, the Uyghur Human Rights Project released a report exposing the systematic oppression faced by Uyghur women based on their religious beliefs. Uyghur women are being denied their freedom of religion and belief, and their religious practices, including religious study, religious gatherings, daily prayer, and wearing the hijab have all been explicitly criminalised by the Chinese government. Numerous Uyghur women have been persecuted, including respected women of faith, community leaders, and educated young women, and subjected to arbitrary detention in concentration camps and lengthy prison sentences. The report furthermore highlights the detention and imprisonment of elderly women for religious learning that occurred decades earlier.

World Uyghur Congress Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
On February 6, the World Uyghur Congress issued a press release, announcing its nomination for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize. The WUC was nominated by Senator of the Italian Republic and former Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giulio Terzi. This marks the second nomination for the World Uyghur Congress in two years. “It is an immense honour to see the World Uyghur Congress being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize two years in a row,” said World Uyghur Congress President, Dolkun Isa. “This nomination significantly contributes to the recognition of the WUC’s valuable efforts in advancing democracy and human rights for Uyghurs.”

The World Uyghur Congress extends sincere thanks to Senator Terzi for his thoughtful recognition of the WUC’s crucial work. The nomination reflects a shared commitment to promoting peace, human rights, and democracy for the Uyghur community. 

Joint Open Letter to the EU Forced Labour Regulators Negotiators
On February 7, the WUC joined 32 civil society organisations and trade unions in sending a letter to the Negotiators of the EU Forced Labour Regulation (FLR), outlining key issues that should be considered during the upcoming trilogues in order to make the proposed EU Forced Labour Regulation a success. 

One of the key issues outlined in the letter, is the EU Commission’s lack of clear investigative and enforcement measures to tackle state-imposed forced labor effectively. The letter therefore calls on the Commission to identify high risk geographic areas and economic sectors where state-imposed forced labour is present, as well as shifting the burden of proof on economic operators in these high-risk areas and sectors, aiming to hold them accountable. Additionally, the regulation should allow for bans on groups of products from entities where state-imposed forced labor is prevalent, streamlining enforcement efforts. 

WUC Director of Global Advocacy Attends Paris Human Rights Conference
From February 8-9, the WUC Director of Global Advocacy, Zumretay Arkin is attending the Paris Human Rights Days Conference at the Panthéon-Assas université, organised by Paris Human Rights Center. 

On February 9, Ms Arkin spoke alongside the French Ambassador to Geneva, Mr Jérôme Bonnafont and UN Geneva Director for Human Rights Watch, Hilary Power at a roundtable chaired by Marina Eudes, Professor at the University of Paris-Nanterre on the UN Human Rights Council and its procedures. The WUC Director of Global Advocacy highlighted the opportunities and challenges at the UN for the case of East Turkistan and the Uyghurs.

PARTICIPATE

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.