Ilham Tohti: Uyghur Peacemaker and the Nobel Peace Prize 2024

Ilham Tohti Event January 2023 EN

Date: January 17, 2024

Time: 10:00–11:30 a.m. EST

Watch live on UHRP’s Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube pages

Join the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) for a discussion about Ilham Tohti, his detention and life sentence, and the international response. Prof Tohti has just been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for the 3rd time. This event will feature Tahir Hamut Izgil, author of “Waiting to be Arrested at Night;” Abduweli Ayup, a linguist, former Uyghur political prisoner and student of Professor Tohti; Rahima Mahmut, a human rights activist, translator and UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress; and Cao Yaxue, founder and editor of China Change. The event will be held in the Chinese language.


Tahir Hamut Izgil is one of the foremost poets writing in the Uyghur language. He grew up in Kashgar, an ancient city in the Uyghur homeland. He studied in Beijing  at Minzu University, where he met Ilham Tohti. In 1995, he returned to the Uyghur Region and emerged as a prominent film director. Izgil’s poetry has been translated into Chinese, English, Japanese, Turkish and French. His book, “Waiting to Be Arrested at Night: A Uyghur Poet’s Memoir of China’s Genocide,” was published in 2023.

Rahima Mahmut is an Uyghur singer, human rights activist, and translator. She interpreted for camp survivors during the Uyghur Tribunal, and has collaborated with journalists on breaking news stories relating to the Uyghur genocide. A prominent voice for Uyghurs in the UK, Rahima is currently UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress, Executive Director of Stop Uyghur Genocide, and an Advisor to the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.

Abduweli Ayup is a writer, journalist and a linguist specializing in Uyghur language education. Born in Kashgar, he was a university lecturer and opened language schools and kindergartens in Ürumchi and Kashgar in 2011. He was arrested in August 2013 and detained for 15 months on political charges. In exile since 2015, he founded Uyghur Hjelp in 2016. He has interviewed former detainees, translated leaked documents, and documented the plight of Uyghurs in diaspora. He is the author of seven books in Uyghur and English, and co-author and contributor to several UHRP reports.


Yaxue Cao is the founder and editor of China Change. For ten years, China Change has provided news and commentary related to human rights, the rule of law, and civil society in China. Yaxue translated a number of Ilham Tohti’s writings from Chinese into English for the 2022 collection, We Uyghurs Have No Say: An Imprisoned Writer Speaks.


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