Home International EBF Virtual Conference on Uyghurs Rights Held

EBF Virtual Conference on Uyghurs Rights Held

Photo: EBF/OV

The Hague, November 20 (EBF/OurVoice): Speakers at the virtual meeting on the subject, “Why the World should raise voice for Uyghurs and Demand China to stop persecution” expressed grave concern at the reports of gross human rights violation of the Uyghur community members in China and said, ‘China is committing egregious human rights abuses against Uyghur and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang’.

The meeting held on Thursday was organized by the Europe-based Diaspora organization, European Bangladesh Forum (EBF) in collaboration with the Switzerland branch of the International Human Rights Commission. The media partner of EBF, the British Bangla News Channel in the UK broadcast the program live on its website, while the live program was also shown simultaneously on EBF Facebook and Youtube. While the meeting was on, other members who were watching it, also shared the program in their timeline of their Facebook pages. The program drew huge interest among the members of different faiths and nationalities in Europe and beyond. So far is known there were participants from Thailand, Indonesia, America, Canada, Bangladesh, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and UK, among others.

Those who addressed the one hour and 30 minutes long virtual meeting were: David Ball, founder and Co-organiser of the Uyghur Solidarity Campaign UK, Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director of the World Uyghur Congress, Harry van Bommel, former member of the Dutch Parliament from Socialist Party for 17 years, Zumretay Arkin, Program and Advocacy Manager at the World Uyghur Congress, Munich, Saleem Samad, media rights defender and recipient of the prestigious Ashoka Fellowship (1991) and Hellman-Hammett Award and Khalilur Rahman Mamun, President, International Human Rights Commission, Switzerland branch. Dr. Mojibur Doftori, Board member of the Humanist Association of Finland and a writer and human rights activist was the moderator of the meeting. The live program was technically handled by the Netherlands IT company, Streambradas and the British Bangla News Channel.

Speaking on the occasion Rahima Mahmut narrated the sufferings and trauma that she and her family members went through in the hands of the Chinese authority in Uyghur. She said, all governments including the UK should stand ready to engage with the judgment of the tribunal when it comes. The plight of my people, she continued, has all the hallmarks of genocide. The world Uyghur Congress has commissioned a new independent People Tribunal shared by the British Barrister Sir Geoffrey who prosecuted the trial of Milosevic in The Hague. He led an enquiry last year revealing China’s barbaric practice of organ harvesting of the Uyghur people. Mahmut who now lives in exile in the UK said, discrimination and prosecution of the Uyghur people has a long history. ‘I was born in a Muslim family and I experienced frequent discrimination and harassment while I was there. I witnessed crackdown on any dissenting moderate voice. Procession for religious freedom was faced with violence targeting young religious clerics. Over hundred were killed followed by mass arrests, she said, adding, ‘I could not return home because of my activism’. Uyghurs are living in utter fear. The goal of this Chinese regime is to detain as many people as possible, she said adding, ‘the computerized system is designed to criminalize innocent people. Information of Uyghur people are analyzed in the databank. By detaining people and creating an atmosphere of fear, no one of the Uyghur community dares to create any resistance, they cannot express their dissatisfaction. At event or meeting they cannot share openly the experience of being treated badly even with family members or friends as they are being followed. The life of camps is of horror where detainees suffer from brain washing, indoctrination, lack of food, torture etc.

The Dutch politician Harry van Bommel said, together with a few Uyghur people, we launched a Facebook page in the Netherlands. We established individual contacts with members of the Dutch Parliament and some spokespersons in Foreign Affairs (Ministry) are interested in the case of Uyghurs, when it comes to asylum and also when it comes to the question of human rights violation in Turkistan. These MPs of the Dutch parliament, he suggested, can host meetings in the Dutch Parliament and I am sure it is quite the same in other European countries. We are working on a petition where we say that certain shop chain in Europe use force labour from Uyghur. We have identified certain branch chain in this regard. We shall bring this to the Dutch Parliament, so that Dutch parliament can start investigation. The national elections are coming in March next year. May be half of the Parliament members will be removed, there will be many new MPs. The old and new MPs will work together, so that there is a platform and continuity of the work for the Uyghurs is not stopped and continued uninterrupted.

Zumretay Arkin in her speech shared the stories of repressions of her community members in Uyghur and said, at all levels, atrocities are on, family separation, children are left without parents as parents are taken away to the concentration camps. Everything relating to culture of the Uyghur people are being attacked. Counter terrorism law introduced to suppress the Uyghur community has been subjected to international condemnation. The Chinese government are introducing laws to legalize their all bad practices, also changing Chinese laws because, she said, Chinese constitution guarantee Uyghur people’s fundamental freedom such as practice of their religion, freedom of speech.

David Ball said, Uyghur people like every people around the world should be able to enjoy freedom, justice and human rights. There is intense level of persecution and suppression against the Uyghur people by the Chinese state. Every nation has a right to self determination and independence if they that wishes. There is a broad support among the Uyghur people for that, Mr. David opined. He alleged that the Chinese state is not allowing the independence of trade union with small exception in Hong Kong and even in HK today we are seeing increasing level of suppression and clampdown on freedom.

Saleem Samad said, The Economist magazine attributes the persecution of Uyghurs as a crime against humanity. It is also the gravest example of a worldwide attack on human rights. Quoting a report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute he said, this report exposes a new phase in China’s social re-engineering campaign targeting Uyghurs, revealing new evidence that some factories across China are using forced Uyghur labour under a state-sponsored “labour transfer scheme” that is tainting the global supply chain. Today the Uyghur population has been marginalised by aggressive colonisation by the Han Chinese majority in Xinjiang, Saleem Samad said, adding, ‘when western media began exposing China of the internment camps in the name of re-education, the Chinese Communist Party is in denial mode and refuses to stand down in persecution of Uyghurs’. He continued, in 2018 China pivoted from denying the camps’ existence to calling them “vocational education and training centres” where they are exposed to coerced indoctrination. Months after months, inmates narrated that they were drilled to renounce extremism and put their faith in “Xi Jinping Thought” rather than the Quran. The international rights groups and research outfits in collaboration with news organisation have brought evidence with satellite images, digital forensic tools, and narratives of Uyghurs survivors in exile. Saleem Samad was vehemently critical of the Muslim countries for their role, what he termed ‘mysteriously’ silence to raise their voice against the atrocities being done with the Uyghur Muslims by the Chinese state.

The meeting ended with the thanks giving by the President of the International Human Rights Commission, Switzerland branch, Khalilur Rahman Mamun. According to the organizers, realizing the importance of the issue, they plan to organize an ‘in-person’ conference in mid-March or mid-April 2021 if Covid situation permits.


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