Upcoming United Nations meeting critical for the fate of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims currently under lockdown in China: the questions UN member states should ask

For immediate release

November 2, 2018 11:00 am EST

Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project +1 (202) 478 1920

The People’s Republic of China’s Universal Periodic Review on November 6 is an opportunity for United Nations member states to hold Beijing to account for egregious human rights abuses against Turkic Muslims in East Turkestan (aka the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region).

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) calls on member states to press the People’s Republic of China delegation on the expansive system of internment camps for Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic Muslims. The Chinese government should respond to credible reports of deaths and torture in the camps, as well as the forcible separation of children from their families. Furthermore, UHRP urges states to ask China about the secretive transfer of internees and prisoners from East Turkestan.

“Now is the time for concerned states to stand up for the Uyghur people. The ongoing human rights emergency demands a response from China during the UPR process. The scale of the repression in East Turkestan is breathtaking, with over a million Uyghur interned in camps and an entire ethnic group subjected to daily humiliations and unprecedented surveillance,” said UHRP Director Omer Kanat. “Our consciences demand that we must act,” he added.

UHRP urges UN member states to consider the following questions for the delegation of the People’s Republic of China:

Scale of the camps

Can the government of China confirm reports that over one million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are being held in internment camps and that over two million are forced to undergo day and evening political indoctrination sessions?

Arbitrary detention

Can the government of China explain how Uyghurs’ normal religious practices, shared by a billion Muslims around the world, are grounds for detention in China?

What are “two-faced officials,” and what is the basis for their detention under international human rights standards?

Deaths in custody

Have the following internees (Muhammad Salih Hajim, Abdulnehed Mehsum, Abdusalam Mamat, Yasinjan, and Yaqupjan Naman) died in custody, and if not, can the government of China provide information about their whereabouts and well-being?

Family separations

Why have Uyghur children been taken away from relatives who want to care for them and placed in mandatory boarding schools, and why are so many schools surrounded by barbed wire?

Secret prisoner transfers

How many Uyghur detainees is the government of China transferring out of the Uyghur region?

Repression based on religious and ethnic identity

Why has the government of China has issued numerous public notices requiring Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims to cease practicing their religion and forbidding the use of their language in state institutions such as schools and offices?