The Uyghur Human Rights Project remembers the 9/11 terror attacks on the United States

For Immediate Release

September 10, 2018 11:00 am EST

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

On the anniversary of 9/11, the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) honors the victims of the terror attacks on the United States and offers its condolences to the victims’ loved ones.

UHRP condemns terrorism and supports the ideals of democracy and human rights as the means to achieve a prosperous and pluralistic society.

UHRP encourages the international community to maintain its efforts to end the menace of terrorism and to oppose states that leverage terrorism to repress minorities.

“The Uyghur community worldwide, and in particular Uyghur-Americans, extend their sympathies to the victims of 9/11, including those who are grieving the loss of their family and friends,” said UHRP Director Omer Kanat.

Mr. Kanat added: “Sadly, some states have leveraged the tragedy of 9/11 to commit human rights violations. The Chinese government has for several years opportunistically exploited the terror attacks on the United States to severely repress the Uyghur Muslim population in East Turkestan. This ‘state terror’ has recently transformed into the internment of over one million Uyghurs with the alleged aim of curbing extremism.”

Since 2017, China has detained possibly over a million Uyghurs in internment camps. A recent UHRP report on the camps documented the camp system, examining the scale of the facilities, as well as the reported conditions. Firsthand testimony and credible research describe deaths in custody, torture, and systemic political indoctrination in the facilities.

China has called the “high intensity of regulations” in East Turkestan a necessary “counter-terror” measure. Chinese state media euphemistically refers to the internment camps as “vocational training centers” for criminals.

In an August 30, 2018 interview, UHRP Director told PBS NewsHour the current repression targeting Uyghurs has nothing to do with terrorism. Furthermore, in an August 24, 2018 commentary for The Diplomat, Mr. Kanat called China’s policies an all-out war against a people.  

The struggle against terrorism is bound by international human rights standards. On September 8, 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which highlights:

     Measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism.

UHRP believes the fight against terrorism should be conducted within human rights norms and refers China to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Human Rights, Terrorism and Counter-terrorism Fact Sheet No. 32:

     Effective counter-terrorism measures and the protection of human rights are complementary and mutually reinforcing objectives which must be pursued together as part of States’ duty to protect individuals within their jurisdiction.

On a somber day of remembrance, UHRP honors the victims of terror. Furthermore, the Chinese government must end the exploitation of genuine counter-terror measures as a means of justifying the blanket repression of the Uyghur people.