UHRP urges worldwide action in the wake of genocide finding

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January 19, 2021, 1:40 p.m. EST
For Immediate Release
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) urges a collective, coordinated response by governments to address the treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, following the US State Department finding of genocide and crimes against humanity.

“The implications are enormous. It’s unthinkable to continue ‘business as usual’ with a state committing genocide and crimes against humanity,” said Omer Kanat, UHRP Executive Director. “Whether it’s the 2022 Beijing Olympics or climate change, governments and companies can’t ignore the Uyghurs’ living nightmare. We have been waiting for this determination for a long time.”

In its finding, the State Department cited mass arbitrary detention, forced sterilization, torture, forced labor, and restrictions on religious freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of movement as grounds for the determination.

The determination has substantial implications for future bilateral relationships between China and other governments, at the United Nations, and for businesses operating in East Turkistan or in China generally.

Canada has also conducted fact-finding for an atrocity crimes determination. The Canadian Subcommittee on International Human Rights said in a news release on October 21, 2020, that “Based on the evidence put forward during the Subcommittee hearings, both in 2018 and 2020, the Subcommittee is persuaded that the actions of the Chinese Communist Party constitute genocide as laid out in the Genocide Convention.”

The designation is consistent with the position of 50 genocide and atrocity prevention organizations and senior experts, who reissused a joint open letter with the UHRP last week. They found that the measures targeting Uyghurs “meet the threshold of acts constitutive of genocide, core international crimes under the Genocide Convention . . .” The letter also urges the international community to respond through diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means.

Other institutions have also argued that China’s treatment of Uyghurs may amount to genocide or crimes against humanity, including the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, the US Congressional Executive Commission on China, the Simon Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

UHRP has compiled considerable evidence supporting this finding, including mass, arbitrary detention in violation of international law, the persecution of the Uyghur population on racial and religious grounds, and widespread enforced disappearances. The destruction of countless Uyghur cultural sites and the use of forced or coercive labor have further underscored China’s genocidal intent.

UHRP calls on all UN Member States to: take immediate steps to make a legal determination on the situation facing Uyghurs and other Turkic groups in East Turkistan; take all necessary measures to demand China fulfill its human rights obligations; and to appoint an independent UN expert or panel of experts and the creation of a special UN session to monitor, evaluate, and report on the human rights situation in China.

Read more:

UHRP: Genocide prevention experts call for UN Commission of Inquiry on crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghurs

UHRP: UHRP urges Canadian Government to act on parliamentary subcommittee finding of genocide

UHRP: 50 Genocide prevention organizations and experts call for UN Commission of Inquiry on crimes against humanity and genocide against Uyghurs

UHRP: UHRP Welcomes Global Action To Address Likely Genocide, Finally