WEEKLY BRIEF JULY 5

World Uyghur Congress, 5 July 2019

WUC Representative Raises China’s Human Rights Abuses at the UN HRC 41 Session

On behalf of the Society for Threatened Peoples, WUC Policy Coordinator Ryan Barry gave an oral statement at the UN Human Rights Council 41- Session on 1 July 2019. Mr. Barry criticized the UN’s inaction and complicity in severe human rights abuses by the Chinese government against the Uyghur people by not addressing the mass arbitrary detention of 1-3 million Uyghurs in concentration camps. Mr. Barry further stated that – referring to the propaganda speech of the Vice Governor of the Uyghur region in front of the Human Rights Council on 25 June 2019 – this Council should not be a platform for human rights abusers, but give space to civil society to address human rights issues on a world stage.

In their right of reply to the statement, the Chinese delegation rejected the statement made by the WUC representative, complaining that human rights defenders outside of China were allegedly politicizing the human rights issue and should not be allowed to express themselves at the Human Rights Council despite it having been created for the international community to hear the critical voices of civil society groups on human rights abuses.

Uyghur Activists Criticized Turkish President for Failing to Speak Up For Persecuted Uyghurs

Uyghur human rights groups heavily criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for not speaking out against the detention of 1-3 million Muslims in concentration camps all over the Uyghur region during his 2 July 2019 visit to Beijing. He was stated by Chinese state media as saying that Uyghurs were living happily due to China’s economic success. In February, President Erdogan was the only leader of a Muslim majority country who called China out on the detention of millions of Ughurs in East Turkistan in concentration camps. Now, Turkey appears to be dropping the Uyghur issue in favor of taking part in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a vast infrastructure project that aims to create better transport and trade links from China to western Asia and Europe.

Demonstrations Held Around the World To Mark 10-Year Anniversary of 5 July 2009 Urumqi Massacre 

On 5 July 2019, protests for the 10th anniversary of the 5 July 2009 Urumqi Massacre took place in 22 cities and in 14 countries worldwide. From 5 – 7 July 2009, thousands of Uyghur protesters were killed, forcibly disappeared or injured in a brutal response by the Chinese government to peaceful protests of mostly Uyghur students in Urumqi in response to China’s policies in the region. In the 10 years since the massacre, the situation of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan has deteriorated incredibly, as estimated 1 -3 million innocent Uyghurs and other ethnic have been detained in internment camps and the Chinese government is striving to completely erode the Uyghur identity.

Testimonies of Uyghur Parents Separated From their Children by the Chinese Government

Western media has been increasingly reporting about parent-child separations in the Uyghur region. Due to their parents being detained in concentration camps, many Uyghur children have lost their parents and are being held in state-run Orphanages.

BBC News, reports that “in one township alone more than 400 children have lost not just one but both parents to some form of internment, either in the camps or in prison”. Even those parents who managed to flee persecution in their homeland often remain cut off from their children, not knowing about their whereabouts.

Adrian Zenz, independent researcher, published a new report commissioned by the BBC entitled “Evidence for China’s Parent-Child Separation Campaign in Xinjiang”, in which he presents his investigation into how Uyghur children are being separated from their parents and held in “highly secured, centralized boarding facilities” where they are physically and emotionally abused. Mr. Zenz called this report his “most heart-rending research ever”.