12 years after July 5 unrest in Ürümchi, UHRP again calls for safe haven for Uyghur refugees
July 2, 2021 10:45 a.m. EDT
For immediate release
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) recognizes the 12-year anniversary of the unrest in Ürümchi on July 5, 2009 and in the days following, and calls for the protection of Uyghur refugees and asylum seekers currently residing abroad.
“Saving Uyghur refugees is the least that the world can do for Uyghurs, as we experience the 5th year of an ongoing genocide,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “It is urgent that the U.S. Congress pass the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act, and like-minded countries need to stand up serious refugee resettlement programs.”
The July 5 incident began with a peaceful protest against the murder of Uyghur workers in a factory in Guangdong. Eyewitnesses state that security forces fired on the demonstrators, and violence erupted in the city leading to an unknown number of deaths. In the subsequent days, security forces swept the city conducting mass arbitrary disappearances.
The roots of the current Uyghur statelessness crisis lie in the official response to peaceful July 5 protests in Ürümchi—a brutal multi-year crackdown that forced many Uyghurs to flee their homeland, followed by systematic atrocities now recognized as an ongoing genocide.
In tandem with these crimes, the Chinese government has intensified a deliberate campaign targeting Uyghurs abroad, with 1,327 individuals detained or rendered from 20 countries since 2014 alone, as documented in the UHRP-Oxus Society June 24 report, No Space Left to Run: China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs.
The Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act would make Uyghurs and other persecuted Turkic peoples eligible for priority refugee processing by the United States, designating them as “Priority 2” (P-2) refugees of special humanitarian concern.
- UHRP welcomes House bill to provide Uyghurs safe haven
- UHRP welcomes Senate legislation to support safe haven for Uyghurs abroad
In 2020, the Uyghur Human Rights Project and the World Uyghur Congress co-hosted an event examining the post-2009 crackdown as the precursor to genocide: From Systematic Assimilation to Cultural Genocide: July 5, 2009 as a turning point in China’s repression of Uyghurs.
Report: Weaponized Passports: the Crisis of Uyghur Statelessness, April 1, 2020
Report: ‘They Can’t Send Me Back’: Uyghur Asylum Seekers in Europe, September 20, 2011
Report: A city ruled by fear and silence: Urumchi, two years on, July 5, 2011
Report: ‘Can Anyone Hear Us?’ Voices From the 2009 Unrest in Urumchi, July 10, 2010