13 Years After July 5 Unrest in Ürümchi, UHRP Calls for Safe Haven for Uyghur Refugees
July 5, 2022 | 10:00 a.m. EDT
For Immediate Release
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 819-0598, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) recognizes the 13-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 6th year of an ongoing genocide,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “It is urgent that all countries recognise the threat posed to Uyghurs abroad, and develop their own resettlement programs on an emergency basis.”
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 disappearances.
The practice of enforced disappearances has proliferated in recent years. A 2021 UHRP report, The Disappearance of Uyghur Intellectual and Cultural Elites, documented the internment, imprisonment, and forcible disappearance of 312 intellectual and cultural producers.
The roots of the current Uyghur statelessness crisis, affecting vulnerable refugees living in dozens of countries around the world, 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. The systematic atrocities since 2017, now recognized as an ongoing genocide, require strong action to stop any forcible returns of Uyghurs to China.
Governments should immediately implement proactive resettlement programs for Uyghurs at risk of refoulement, and must be alert to cases of imminent deportation on an emergency basis.
In the United States, Congress should pass the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act, which 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.
Globally, civil society organizations from 19 countries jointly issued a Call for Urgent Measures to Protect Uyghurs at Risk of Refoulement in June, ahead of World Refugee Day 2022.
UHRP Encouraged by US Commitment to Oppose Transnational Repression, Urges Multilateral Action, Uyghur Human Rights Project (2022)
Beyond Silence: Collaboration Between Arab States and China in the Transnational Repression of Uyghurs, Uyghur Human Rights Project and Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs (2022)
“Your Family Will Suffer”: How China is Hacking, Surveilling, and Intimidating Uyghurs in Liberal Democracies, Uyghur Human Rights Project and Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs (2022)
“They Sent Her to a Concentration Camp Because She Came to Turkey”: The Persecution of Uyghurs Based on their Turkic and Muslim Identity, Uyghur Human Rights Project (2021)
“Nets Cast from the Earth to the Sky”: China’s Hunt for Pakistan’s Uyghurs, Uyghur Human Rights Project and Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs (2021)
No Space Left to Run: China’s Transnational Repression of Uyghurs, Uyghur Human Rights Project and Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs (2021)
UHRP welcomes bill to provide Uyghurs safe haven, March 9, 2021