New Delhi: Human Rights activists globally have urged democracies like India to condemn and impose sanctions on Communist China and its leadership for its unabated genocide of and persecution of Uyghurs in East Turkistan, called Xinjiang.
At an online event organised by Delhi-based think-tank Law and Society Alliance, the activists also criticised former High Commissioner of the United Nations’ Human Rights Office Ms Michele Bachelet for protecting Communist China from criticism over the genocide of the Uyghurs during her tenure that ended Aug. 31.
Germany’s Munich-based World Uyghur Congress president Mr Dolkun Isa, US’ Washington DC-based Center for Uyghur Studies executive director Mr Abdulhakim Idris and Law and Society Alliance chairman N. C. Bipindra agreed with the significant findings of the ‘OHCHR Assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, People’s Republic of China’.
But they criticised the 48-page report not using the term ‘genocide’ even once, though several nations’ legislatures globally, including the United Kingdom, France, European Union and Canada, have passed resolutions in this regard.
Mr Dolkun Isa, in his address to the audience comprising intellectuals, researchers and activists, said the report by the UN on the atrocities on Uyghurs has come out “very late” and is “very weak” in its language.
“The report has failed to meet the expectations of Uyghurs suffering under the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) thumb, but it at least confirms what the Uyghur community has been saying for the past few years about the scale and severity of abuse against it,” Mr Isa said.
He said the UN Report should “have used much stronger language to condemn” Communist China, similar to several legislatures across the world that have already termed the crimes against humanity in East Turkistan as genocide. Even though the UN Report is weak, it is “significant” for recognising the persecution of the Uyghurs, he said.
The World Uyghur Congress has estimated that since 2017, over three million Uyghurs, Kazaks and other ethnic minorities have been detained in concentration camps in East Turkistan, where they are tortured and exposed to violence like systematic rapes and forced sterilisation.
These concentration camps are part of a larger People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) attempt to destroy the unique identities and culture of Uyghurs and Turkic communities. The international community has just begun to realise and take action against PRC’s atrocities, with several parliaments finally imposing targeted sanctions last year against Chinese entities for their complicity in the genocide against Uyghurs. But the ban by these few countries themselves is inadequate to avert this crisis, Mr Isa said.
The PRC is trying to spread fake news and disinformation, as well as use its economic might and diplomatic capacity to bury the truth about its genocide in East Turkistan. “That is why many countries have remained silent about the issue.”
Democracies, like India, must recognize the Uyghur genocide, the continued use of forced labour by Communist China and the reality of Uyghurs being targeted by Chinese transnational suppression, Mr Isa said. “There are many options for countries to act and the time of empty promises is over and actions are what is needed. The UN Human Rights Council must call for an emergency session to discuss and take action against Chinese actions,” he demanded.
Mr Abdulhakim Idris, in his presentation, said the Uyghur genocide has not only been confirmed by the UN, but also brought to light PRC’s documents and the voices of many camp survivors.
“There is ample evidence now of the atrocities committed by the CCP against Uyghurs and no one can deny that now. All religious activities of Uyghurs are banned in East Turkistan. The CCP, for a long time, has strived for the sinicization of all communities practicing Islam to Buddhism,” Mr Idris said.
He said Communist China has tried to use every means and opportunity at its disposal to eliminate the Uyghur people from the Earth, including through COVID infections. “The reality is that Communist China is afraid of the truth and the global media. Hence, the CCP has used all means to influence international institutions, including the UN, where the top leadership is afraid of antagonising the CCP, he added.
Mr Bipindra pointed out that the report concluded that Communist China indeed committed several human rights violations in East Turkistan. The UN Report also described large-scale arbitrary detention of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in East Turkistan. The report also stated that Beijing’s actions could constitute crimes against humanity.
But, by not using the term ‘genocide’ and using tentative words such as “may” and “could”, the OHCHR, under Ms Bachelet, had missed an opportunity to rein in Communist China from further committing atrocities and torture of Turkic communities in its occupied territory, apart from scoring a self-goal against its stated human rights objectives, Mr Bipindra said.
He said the OHCHR report contained detailed testimonials from former detainees of Uyghur concentration camps, and confirms that those imprisoned were inhumanly tortured.
Mr Bipindra also took objection to several international bodies, including the UN, coming under the undue influence of Communist China, and the top brass of many multilateral organisations succumbing to pressure and overtures from the CCP, and indulging in protecting the CCP.
Law and Society Alliance, and the activists, joined in urging India and other democratic nations to condemn Communist China’s genocide of the Uyghurs and to impose strict sanctions against the CCP leadership for the crimes against humanity.