WUC Urges Respect for UDHR on International Human Rights Day

Press Release – For immediate release
10 December 2013
Contact: World Uyghur Congress www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) calls on the international community to urge the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to respect and abide by the core principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as it prepares to take its seat on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC). The WUC also calls on President Xi Jinping to use this occasion to ensure that he be the first President of the PRC to fully embrace the UDHR, as well as the PRC’s national constitution, especially as it applies to the protection of Uyghurs’ basic human rights.

Since 1950, the international community has annually commemorated the UDHR on 10 December, following its recognition by the UN General Assembly as the International Human Rights Day. Its raison d’etre, or justification for existence, has since been to “bring to the attention ‘of the peoples of the world’ the [Declaration] as the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.” To this day, the UDHR uniquely acts as the universally-recognised benchmark for the protection of human rights, including freedom of speech, religious belief and expression.

However, the realisation of the UDHR remains a desperate dream for the Uyghur people. Despite the PRC’s adoption of the UDHR in 1948, the PRC continues to engage in egregious, widespread human rights violations. Sixty five long years have passed since the UDHR’s inception, and the PRC remains adamantly opposed to improving its appalling human rights track record.

As the WUC, governments, civil society and innumerable media organisations have widely reported, 2013 remains one of the most repressive in recent years. The WUC has documented a wave of cases of arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and extra-judicial killings during the past year, for which countless questions still remain unanswered. Still further, millions of Uyghurs have been completely deprived of their constitutionally-protected freedoms of speech and religious expression.

“The rights enshrined in the UDHR are so intrinsic that Uyghurs should not even have to demand that they receive them; yet Uyghurs remain desperately wanting, indeed needing, the protections guaranteed in the UDHR in the face of an unrelenting escalation of human rights violations in 2013, committed with impunity by the very government who agreed to protect them,” said WUC President and prominent Uyghur human rights activist Ms Rebiya Kadeer.

The WUC urges governments, and their respective constituents, around the world to use this window of opportunity, International Human Rights Day, to pressure the Chinese Government to ease its ongoing repression of Uyghurs, and continue to monitor the Chinese government’s egregious human rights violations.

Finally, amidst mounting repression of the Uyghur people by the Chinese government, the WUC demands that the Chinese leadership cease from engaging in further torture, detention, disenfranchisement, demonisation and extrajudicial killing of Uyghurs in accordance with the guiding principles of the UDHR.