“Time to End Business as Usual”: The Global Response to the Uyghur Concentration Camps in China

November 29, 2018

By Louisa Greve, Director of External Affairs

At a conference held in Munich, Germany, earlier this month, more than 250 Uyghur activists, academics and community leaders came together to agree on the strategic approach of the Uyghur community around the world to directly address the camps, the comprehensive repression in East Turkistan, and China’s persecution of Uyghurs abroad.

Delegates agreed on a common call to governments and the UN to take urgent action responding to the unprecedented human rights atrocities. Delegates also issued an urgent appeal to Muslim leaders in government and civil society to support the fundamental rights of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim peoples.

For the first time, Uyghur leaders took the position that academia and business must end “business as usual” with China, in response to the monstrous crimes underway.

The Uyghur Human Rights Project is fully committed to pursuing this urgent action agenda. UHRP calls on governments, Muslim leaders, companies, and academic institutions to end business as usual with the government of China, at a time when it is expanding concentration camps for Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim groups. UHRP asks governments and businesses to think about the judgment of history, and take urgent action.

Governments

UHRP supports the U.S. Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2018 and urges governments around the world to pass similar legislation. UHRP further urges governments to:

  • Call on China to immediatelyclose the concentration camps in East Turkestan and release over one million Uyghurs,Kazakhs,and other Turkic Muslim people who are being held secret indefinite detention.
  • Condition bilateral and multilateral agreements with China on the closure of the concentration camps and release of all those in detention.
  • Impose sanctions on the Chinese government and Party officials responsible for the ongoing crimes against humanity.
  • Impose sanctions on Chinese and international companies complicit in this crime, including the equipment and technology used in the massive archipelago of secret detention centers and the total-surveillance police-state throughout the Uyghur Region.
  • Initiate a UN Security Council agenda item regarding the largest detention of a targeted ethno-religious group since the founding of the United Nations.
  • Investigate and enforce domestic law to protect citizens and asylum seekers who are Uyghurfrom constant harassment, threats, coercion, and reprisals by Chinese security agencies.
  • Publicly affirm a policy of never deporting Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers to China.
  • Expedite Uyghur political asylum and refugee applications.
  • Prioritize humanitarian acceptance of stateless and at-risk Uyghur refugees currently exposed to reprisals or deportation in third countries.

Muslim Voices

  • UHRP urges governments and civil society leaders in Muslim communities to make their voices heard in support of the fundamental rights of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkestan. Muslim voices are urgently needed to call for the closure of the concentration camps; the release of detained religious scholars, imams, intellectuals, and alldetainees; and restoration of thousands of mosques that have been shuttered, bulldozed, or converted to entertainment centers in cities, towns and villages.

Business

  • UHRP calls upon Volkswagen, Ford, General Motors, Heinz, Campbell Soup, Oracle, Thermo Fisher, and all international companies, to cease operations and sales in East Turkestan (also known as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region) as long as the Regional Government continues to operate concentration camps and total-control measures of collective punishment, including separating children from their living parents and other relatives.
  • As a matter of political-risk transparency, they should disclose whether any of their operations have assisted the government policy of total control and persecution of Uyghurs from all walks of life; whether any of their employees have disappeared or been detained; and what they have done in response.

Academia

  • UHRP urges universities, publishing houses, and exchange programs of all kinds to consider the judgment of history in their dealings with the Chinese government. It is time to suspend exchanges and cooperation with government institutions as long as the government continues to implement a campaign of eradication of the Uyghur people and operation of concentration camps holding a million or more Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.
  • The Statement by Concerned Scholars on China’s Mass Detention of Turkic Minorities, issued November 26, 2018, provides global leadership and an important blueprint for further action.

Read more: uyghurcongress.org/en/press-release-uyghurs-in-exile-urge-an-end-to-business-as-usual-approach-with-china-call-for-action-for-immediate-closure-of-internment-camps

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