Uyghur Tribunal Concludes After Hearing Chilling Evidence
For Immediate Release
September 24, 2021, 5:00 p.m. EDT
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 816-0598, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722
The Uyghur Tribunal concluded its public hearings last week in London after gathering and reviewing an extensive collection of data from public sources, eyewitnesses, experts, and activists in relation to international crimes targeting Uyghurs.
“Uyghurs around the world trust that the conclusions of the independent tribunal next December will spur urgent action,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “The evidence provided by eyewitnesses and by global experts during eight days of hearings show that it is a true human rights emergency. Uyghurs are grateful to the Tribunal members for their commitment to applying the standards of international treaties to this emergency.”
“The Party-state has effectively criminalized everyday life from the ground up” for Uyghurs, said UHRP staff member Dr. Elise Anderson in her testimony on September 10. Dr. Anderson’s testimony highlighted the findings of UHRP’s 2020 report, “Ideological Transformation”: Records of Mass Detention from Qaraqash, Hotan, which analyzes a leaked Chinese government document revealing ground-level implementation of the mass surveillance detention program.
Peter Irwin, UHRP Senior Program Officer, testified on September 13. He presented wide-ranging evidence that the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs “represents a form of eliticide, a campaign designed to eliminate the expression and manifestation of Uyghur identity.” His testimony focused on prominent Uyghurs who “have been detained and imprisoned for what they know, what they represent, for who they are, and what they used to be.”
On the final day of hearings, Counsel to the Tribunal, Hamid Sabi, provided a summary of the Tribunal’s work. He noted that the Tribunal, with the help of more than 30 researchers, spent over 10,000 hours researching all publicly available sources related to the allegations of international crimes against Uyghurs. The team compiled, reviewed, analyzed, and categorized this information to establish a comprehensive online database.
Over 70 witnesses testified in June and September. This included 33 fact witnesses who testified in live hearings on first or second-hand experience of abuses. These witnesses included 15 camp survivors, 2 teachers, a policeman, a nurse, and others who testified on the treatment of missing family members. Over 500 written witness statements were submitted in total. An additional 60 witness statements were also considered by the Tribunal. The Council team received information from more than 100 scholars, experts, and human rights activists, and 40 were invited to testify at public hearings.
Sabi noted that despite the considerable work of the Tribunal over many months, “what has been presented to you is not even the tip of the iceberg.”
Upon review of the evidence presented, the Tribunal plans to announce its verdict on December 9 in London.
Path-breaking Uyghur Tribunal Under Way in London, September 10, 2021
UHRP Praises Path-breaking Uyghur Tribunal, June 7, 2021
“Ideological Transformation”: Records of Mass Detention from Qaraqash, Hotan, February 18, 2020