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World Uyghur Congress Remembers Victims of Enforced Disappearance on International Day

September 11, 2017 by admin

To mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearance on 30 August 2017, the WUC issued a press release remembering the hundreds of Uyghurs who have disappeared and joined other rights groups in calling on the Chinese government to immediately cease this barbaric practice and to pursue justice for the victims and their families.

The World Uyghur Congress documented 139 verified cases of Uyghurs who have been forcibly disappeared by Chinese police or security forces, though the number is certainly much higher.

Enforced disappearances are an egregious violation of fundamental human rights and have been labeled as a crime against humanity. It is deeply connected with other serious human rights violations, as those who have disappeared may be subjected to arbitrary detention, torture and summary execution.

In an effort to silence human rights defenders and stamp out any dissent, the Chinese government has used enforced disappearances on many occasions against the Uyghur people. In the wake of unrest in Urumqi in 2009, reports of Uyghurs forcibly disappeared in security sweeps of the city’s neighborhoods emerged in media articles and the reports of human rights organizations. Human Rights Watch reported 43 verifiable cases of enforced disappearance of Uyghurs in the aftermath of the unrest, although the number is certainly much higher. Eight years later, the fate and whereabouts of Uyghur individuals disappeared by the Chinese state is still unknown to their families. The perpetrators of these crimes have never been brought to justice.

Outrageously, this is still occurring in the present moment, with little to no international condemnation. In July 2017, 12 Uyghur religious students were arrested and deported from Egypt to China, at China’s request. Since returning to China, friends, family and international observers have had no news of their well-being or whereabouts. Around 200 Uyghurs still remain in detention in Egypt and will likely face a similar fate if they are returned to China. Enforced disappearances are not a just a past injustice and crime against humanity, it is still a pressing issue facing the Uyghur people.

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