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World Uyghur Congress July Newsletter 03.07.2018

July 10, 2018 by admin

July Newsletter

Uyghur Friendship Group Holds First Meeting in the European Parliament

On 26 June 2018, from 12:30 – 14:30, the Uyghur Friendship Group, in collaboration with the European People’s Party (EPP) held their first event in the European Parliament since their inception. The conference was entitled “A People Under Threat: Hundreds of Thousands of Uyghurs Arbitrary Detained in China” and focused on the mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps in East Turkistan.
The Uyghur Friendship Group serves as an informal network of MEPs, representing the different political groups of the European Parliament, and delegates from EU member states, who come together on a regular basis to address the challenges the Uyghur community faces.
The event brought together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from the Uyghur Friendship Group, members of the Uyghur diaspora and academics to discuss the rapidly deteriorating human rights situation in East Turkistan and to think of concrete steps that the EU could take to improve the situation of the Uyghur people.

WUC President Dolkun Isa addressed the participants of the impact that the political indoctrination camps has had on the Uyghur community, in East Turkistan and abroad. He informed participants of the devastating toll China’s repression was taking on the Uyghur community and called on the EU to raise this issue in its upcoming EU-China Human Rights Dialogue and to pass an urgent resolution on the issue.

The WUC is thankful to all those who attended the first meeting of the Uyghur Friendship Group. We hope that it will serve as a springboard for concrete action from the EU to address the mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in East Turkistan.

WUC Commemorates 30th Anniversary of 1998 Uyghur Student Protests

The World Uyghur Congress commemorates the 30th anniversary of Uyghur student protests in Urumqi on June 15th, 1988. The protests themselves stood as an early reaction to Chinese policies in the 1980s that openly discriminated against the Uyghur students in particular, and one of the first large-scale public responses to discriminatory policies against Uyghurs that many students felt.
The 1988 protests were preceded by large student protests in 1985 that saw around 20,000 Uyghur students take to the streets over discriminatory education policies, birth control policies, the effects of nuclear testing in the Lop Nur region, a lack of genuine autonomy and representation in government and employment opportunities.
Much of what Uyghurs witnessed during and after these protests can be seen as the start of renewed campaign by the Chinese government to gradually erode the very identity and collective energy of the Uyghur people. What began as policies designed to gently assimilate has led to what we see today: the unlawful detention of upwards of one million Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps.
Throughout the year that marks the 30th anniversary of the Uyghur student protests, the World Uyghur Congress will be uncovering many of the untold stories from activists and observers who witnessed the events that initiated China’s repressive policies as well as much of the activism that we see in response to it today.
On June 15th, Uyghur community in Germany demonstrated outside the Chinese General Consulate to mark the 30 years anniversary of the Uyghur student democratic movement in Urumqi in 1988.

US Ambassador for Religious Freedom Pushing Trump Administration to Sanction Chinese Officials Responsible for Uyghur Repression

The US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, is reportedly pressing the Trump administration to impose sanctions on Chinese leaders associated with the country’s crackdown on Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious groups in East Turkistan.
The proposal would consist of President Trump signing an executive order, based on the Global Magnitsky Act, to impose sanctions, travel bans and asset freezes on Chinese officials responsible for religious repression. Party Secretary of ‘Xinjiang’ (East Turkistan) Chen Quanguo is reportedly the first target for sanctions for his role in overseeing the mass arbitrary detention of an estimated 1 million Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps.
The WUC and the Uyghur Human Rights Project have been actively calling for sanctions to be imposed on these Chinese officials through the Global Magnitsky Act. World Uyghur Congress Executive Committee Chairman & Uyghur Human Rights Project Director, Omer Kanat has been instrumental bringing attention to Uyghur human rights & the use of political indoctrination camps holding one million Uyghurs.

Mass Arbitrary Detention of Uyghurs Raised at UN Human Rights Council

The mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps finally began to garner some attention in the UN Human Rights Council during its 38th session.

Firstly, the Society for Threatened Peoples made an Item 3 Oral Statement urging UN Members States to speak publicly on the estimated one million Uyghurs currently detained in political indoctrination camps and for further action to be taken to ensure their release.

A number of states, most notably the European Union, and including Germany, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom raised the issue of Uyghurs illegally detained in political indoctrination camps this week at the 38th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Representatives from the World Uyghur Congress have been present at this session of the UN Human Rights Council and been working diligently to ensure that states are well-aware of the situation and urging them to speak out publicly as a first step.

Other Stories:

Amnesty International Calls for Urgent Action on Uyghur Student

Amnesty International has issued an Urgent Action on the case of Guligeina Tashimaimaiti, a Uyghur PhD student studying in Malaysia who disappeared after visiting family in East Turkistan. She returned home after being unable to contact her family members for an extended period of time. She disappeared on 26 December 2017 and has not been heard from since, but it is assumed that she has been arbitrarily detained in a political indoctrination camp and may have been subjected to torture.
Amnesty has launched a letter writing campaign asking the Chinese government to immediately release her, ensure she has access to a lawyer and to allow Uyghurs to communicate with their families outside of China.

John Oliver Raises Mass Arbitrary Detention of Uyghurs on HBO TV Show

On Sunday, June 17th, comedian and TV host, John Oliver, raised the issue of China’s severe repression and the mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps on a segment on China’s President Xi Jinping in his TV program ‘Last Week Tonight’ on HBO. The segment took a satirical look at Xi Jinping’s increasingly repressive rule and made reference to his resemblance to Winnie the Pooh.
In response the Chinese government has banned ‘Last Week Tonight’ in China and has censored any reference to John Oliver on Chinese social media.

Reports of Deaths and Torture of Uyghurs in Political Indoctrination Camps

This month Radio Free Asia reported the deaths of at least 26 Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps in the villages of Yengisheher and Konasheher, according to officials from the area. Most of those who died were reportedly elderly detainees who could not endure the harsh conditions in the camps and did not receive sufficient medical care. Ablet, a 37-year-old fruit merchant from the Qaraqash township, also died in a political indoctrination camp in mysterious circumstances.

A 65-year-old Uyghur businessman, Abdulreshit Seley Hajim, died and was buried this month, nine months after he had been detained in a an indoctrination camp. It was reported he had an indentation on his head, indicating he had been struck by a blunt object. Another death in an indoctrination camp was reported this week, as 37-year-old father of three Abdulahed, died due to high blood pressure because of stress in the camp.
Also this month, WUC Spokesman Dilshat Raxit joined other activists and academics in highlighting the torture, brainwashing and horrible conditions Uyghurs are subjected to in the political indoctrination camps. On June 26th, marking the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, the Uyghur Human Rights Project called on UN member states to question China about reports of deaths and torture of Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps in East Turkistan, especially as China’s Universal Periodic Review Approaches.
RadioFreeAsia also reported that Chinese authorities in Qaraqash county, in East Turkistan have detained nearly half of the Uyghur population of a village in “political re-education camps,” according to a local official. Finally, disturbing reports have emerged that the Chinese government is building many crematoria across East Turkistan, staffed by numerous security personnel.

WUC Celebrates International Uyghur Language Day

On June 15th, the WUC celebrated the unique Uyghur language and its importance to Uyghur culture, history and society, in recognition of International Uyghur Language Day 2018.
Language is an essential part of the social fabric and identity of any people, encapsulating thousands of years history and traditions in spoken and written word. It forms an important bond between the Uyghur people and structures their experience of the world. It ties generations of Uyghurs together with one common thread, uniting the Uyghur diaspora scattered across the world with relatives and countrymen in East Turkestan.
However, the Uyghur language has come under attack from a series of repressive policies introduced by the Chinese government. While efforts to undermine the use of the Uyghur language have been ongoing for decades, we have witnessed a marked escalation in these efforts in the past 5 years.
The WUC therefore recalls the tremendous importance of the freedom to use one’s own mother tongue – something that cannot be denied to millions of Uyghurs in China

Upcoming Events

WUC to Hold Human Rights Advocacy Training in Istanbul, Turkey

From 13 - 16 July, the WUC will hold a human rights advocacy training workshop in Istanbul, Turkey. The workshop aims to improve the capacity of the Uyghur youth to engage in human rights advocacy and effectively raise the situation of the Uyghur people with relevant officials in their own national contexts.

WUC to Participate in Preparatory Meeting for EU-China Human Rights Dialogue

In preparation for the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue on July 9th in Beijing, the WUC is joining other human rights organisations in a preparatory meeting with EU officials in Brussels. The WUC will strive to make sure the mass arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps, among other serious issues, will be on the agenda of the dialogue and that the EU to hold China accountable.

Uyghur Community to Hold Demonstrations Across the World in Remembrance of the 5 July 2009 Massacre

On July 5th, the WUC, its affiliates and the Uyghur community around the world will organise a series of demonstrations marking the 9th anniversary of the July 5th massacre in Urumqi in 2009. On that date, Uyghur demonstrations were met with extreme violence from the Chinese state that left thousands of Uyghurs dead or disappeared.

WUC to Meet with British Government Officials in London

From July 2 - 5, WUC Policy Manager, Peter Irwin, will be in London, England attending relevant events and meeting with officials from the UK government to inform them of the current situation in East Turkistan and to push them to take concrete action.

Recent Activities

WUC Attends Event on Religious Freedom and Asylum Seekers in the European Parliament

On June 27th, WUC Policy Coordinator, Ryan Barry, participated in an event at the European Parliament focused on religious persecution in China and the plight of asylum seekers fleeing China. The event was organised by Human Rights Without Frontiers and hosted by MEP Zdechovsky.

WUC Attends 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

The World Uyghur Congress sent delegates to the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in June 2018 in Geneva, Switzerland, to take part in dialogue with state missions, NGOs and other like-minded international organizations. Representatives also participated in side events during the session focusing relevant issues to the Uyghur community.

WUC Calls on the International Community to Protect Uyghur Refugees on World Refugee Day

On June 20th, the WUC issued a press release highlighting the plight of Uyghur refugees and calling on the international community to protect them, marking World Refugee Day. Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers find themselves in a very precarious situation as, in the past 15 years, at least 300 Uyghurs have been forcibly returned to China from 16 different countries.

WUC Hosts Conference and Roundtable Discussion of the Legacy of the East Turkistan Student Democratic Movement

On June 16th, the WUC organised a conference and roundtable discussion in Munich, Germany. In recognition of the anniversary of the East Turkistan Student Democratic Movement, both events focused on the legacy of this movement and the current situation in East Turkistan. Participants discussed how the Uyghur community can collaborate and take action to release the 1 million Uyghurs held in arbitrary detention and realise the democratic dream of the Student Democratic Movement.

WUC Holds Celebration and Cultural Event Marking the End of Ramadan

To observe the end of Ramadan, the WUC and the Uyghur community in Munich Germany held a celebration on the night of June 15th. This was followed by a cultural event from 4 - 8 pm the following day, on June 16th.

WUC Meets With High Level Officials from the German Government

On June 8th, WUC President Dolkun Isa met with high level officials from German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office to inform them of the deteriorating situation in East Turkistan and to urge the German government to take action on the detention of Uyghurs in political indoctrination camps.

WUC Holds Demonstration in Berlin, Germany

On June 7th, WUC representatives, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) and members of the Uyghur community in Germany protested at Brandenburger Tor in Berlin. This protest was meant to urge the German government to take action to release the estimated 1 million Uyghurs arbitrary detained in political indoctrination camps East Turkistan.

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