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Weekly Brief November 23

Weekly Brief November 23

World Uyghur Congress, 23 November 2018

WUC Issues Statement On UN Security Council China Visit

The WUC issued a press release this week regarding the UN Security Council’s official visit to China this week from November 22-25, as a means for China to highlight development in Shenzhen and Guangzhou and its role as a supporter of UN peacekeeping operations.The UN Security Council typically visits areas that urgently require the attention of the UN or where gross human rights violations are occurring, so the failure to visit East Turkistan, where more than one million Uyghurs are being arbitrarily detained, drew heavy scrutiny from Uyghur organisations and human rights NGOs.

Thus far, there has also been no indication that the one million Uyghurs and other Turkic groups arbitrarily detained in internment camps in East Turkistan will be raised by diplomats with their Chinese counterparts.

WUC President Dolkun Isa commented on the upcoming meeting, saying that, “The Security Council has long been unresponsive to issues with China given their permanent membership, but the 14 other members must uphold their obligation to maintain international order including respect for human rights.”

To ignore such a critical issue would illustrate the extent to which states are not willing to uphold even the most basic international human rights norms. Diplomats have a clear obligation to raise this glaring issue and communicate their strong concerns about severe human rights abuses against Uyghurs and others.

The WUC urges the UN Security Council to raise the internment camps in East Turkistan and for diplomats to publicly speak out about the camps with their Chinese counterparts. If the arbitrary detention of one million on the basis of ethnic origin doesn’t necessitate action, then what does?

Uyghur Philanthropist reportedly sentenced to death for unsanctioned Hajj pilgrimage

The WUC issued a press release this week urging the Chinese government to grant immediate reprieve to Abdughapar Abdurusul, a Uyghur businessman and philanthropist, who was recently reportedly sentenced to death for taking an unsanctioned pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.

Abdurusul, a resident of Ghulja City in the Ili Kazakh Autonomous Prefecture, was arrested in between July or August 2018 and sentenced without the aid of a lawyer during a group trial shortly afterwards.

According to Radio Free Asia reports, the information was corroborated by a number of people close to Abdurusul including his brother, Abdusattar Abdurusul, his former neighbour who now resides in Turkey, as well as a former business associate who lives in exile.

The reported sentence comes shortly following reports of the suspended death sentence of prominent Uyghur physician and academic, Halmurat Ghopur, who was arrested in November 2017 and taken to an unknown location on alleged “acts against the state.” Both sentences indicate a possible trend by Chinese authorities targeting prominent Uyghurs for unwarranted death sentences, alongside mass detention in the camps.

We are therefore calling for full transparency in the immediate case to determine the circumstances around the reported sentencing of Abdughapar Abdurusul as well as information on sentencing more broadly, which continues to take place under a veil of secrecy.

The use of the death penalty has no place in the 21st century. According to available information, Mr. Abdurusul and Mr. Ghopur were simply exercising their basic rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion. Their reported death sentences stand as an affront to justice and human dignity.

WUC President In Japan to Raise Plight Of Uyghurs

The President of the World Uyghur Congress, Dolkun Isa, was in Japan this week to bring more awareness to the plight of Uyghurs in East Turkistan and in the Uyghur diaspora and to push the Japanese government and the international community to take immediate and concrete action..

During his visit, along with Japan Uyghur Community, Isa held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan. Important issues such as the targeting of Uyghur intellectuals and scholars for punishment and arbitrary detention in the camps, the internment camps themselves and the problems with China’s Belt and Road Initiative were raised during the press conference.

Mr. Isa is continuing his visit in Japan, conducting a series of advocacy meetings to push the Japanese government to take action on the human rights crisis in East Turkistan.

German MP to Raise the Uyghur Issue in Federal Government

This week, German MP Bärbel Kofler drew attention to the importance of the recent debate in German parliament on Uyghur internment camps and noted the increasing pressure from China.

Along with Greens MP Margarete Bause, the Uyghur community maintains strong supporters in the Bundestag to push back against the Chinese policies.

“The German Parliament is independent and does not let anyone dictate what it discusses and what it does not discuss,” said the Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler, explaining that the Federal Government clearly rejects China’s attempt to put pressure on German parliamentarians.

The German government have been receiving reports from human rights organizations about the ill-treatment and torture of Uyghurs in internment camps, which made it an important issue to debate last week in the German Bundestag.

The WUC is grateful to countries like Germany for responding to the outcry of the Uyghur people and raising the issue of the internment camps. The WUC hopes that other governments will soon follow suit and we will continue to do everything in our power to push for the release of all those currently arbitrarily detained in the camps.