UHRP Submission to Irish Government on Uyghur Crisis


Submission by Omer Kanat
Executive Director, Uyghur Human Rights Project
Executive Chairman, World Uyghur Congress 

December 7, 2020

Multilateral Action

UN Security Council & UN Commission of Inquiry

UHRP strongly endorses David O’Brien’s important commentary in the Irish Times in August: “Ireland has a moral duty to help end Uighurs’ persecution: State must move beyond words to active use of the UN Security Council to influence China.” On September 14, 38 genocide-prevention organizations called for a UN Commission of Inquiry on China’s atrocity crimes against Uyghurs. UHRP asks Ireland to take the lead in organizing support for a UN Security Council agenda item to propose a Commission of Inquiry. 

UN Human Rights Council

At the UN Human Rights Council, Ireland should help mobilize a resolution on atrocity crimes against the Uyghurs over the past 4 years. The 39 countries that issued a statement in the Third Committee General Debate in October 2020 need to work together to break the Human Rights Council’s silence. 

EU Magnitsky human rights sanctions

Following approval of the EU global human rights sanctions regime on December 7, a historic turning point, UHRP asks Ireland to push for targeted sanctions on the Xinjiang officials carrying out atrocity crimes. Sanctions also should be imposed on companies aiding surveillance and forced labour. That includes Dahua, Hikvision and many others. 

National Action

Government procurement ban

Parliament should ban government procurement from the companies carrying out high-tech surveillance and racial-profiling against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic peoples, including Dahua, Hikvision, certain EU companies, and many others.  

Public pension funds 

The government should ensure that Irish public pension funds do not profit from Uyghur forced labour and surveillance. UHRP calls on them to divest from textile and clothing brands with forced labour in their supply chains, as well as companies providing surveillance technology to Xinjiang police, like Amazon partner Dahua, Hikvision, and Huawei. The Norway Oil Fund has taken one step, but Ireland and every country must do much more.

Forced-labour imports 

Irish companies must stop profiting from the import of forced-labour goods from the Uyghur Region. With 1 in 5 cotton garments using Xinjiang cotton, the entire clothing industry has been put on notice by the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region and new import bans and parliamentary inquiries by  Switzerland, Canada, the UK, and the U.S.

Policy of no deportations

The government should declare a policy of never deporting Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic Muslims.

“Belt and Road” agreements

Ireland should end any “Belt and Road” agreements with the Chinese government. For Uyghurs, these agreements are unacceptable “business as usual” at a time when the Chinese government is destroying my people. Beijing is literally paving over Uyghur mosques, cemeteries, and neighborhoods for its “Modern Silk Road” to Europe through my homeland in Central Asia. 

Humanitarian Action

Scholarships for Uyghur students 

The government should create scholarships at Irish universities for Uyghur students abroad whose parents are taken into concentration camps and who are left with nothing

Government funding for refugee assistance

UHRP asks that the government fund Irish humanitarian organizations to help Uyghur refugees stranded in third countries. So far, they have received no help from international relief agencies.

Documentation and Resources

For in-depth UHRP reports and policy papers, and a clearinghouse of reliable documentation of atrocity crimes against Uyghurs, please consult www.uhrp.org

UHRP wishes to thank the Irish lawmakers for their concern. We are confident that you and the people of Ireland can make a difference for the Uyghur people. 

Uyghur Human Rights Project

1602 L Street, NW, Suite 613

Washington, DC 20036

info@uhrp.org | www.uhrp.org