In a letter written to Ursula Von der Leyen President European Commission and Josep Borrell High Representative / Vice-President European Commission which was signed by Members of the European Parliament Fulvio Martusciello, Tomáš Zdechovský, Gianna Gancia, Gilles Lebreton, France Jamet and Giuseppe FERRANDINO.
The letter read
To the attention of Ursula Von der Leyen
cc. Josep Borrell
High Representative / Vice-President
24th August 2020
Subject: Uyghurs in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the north west of China
Dear Madam President Von der Leyen,
The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the north west of China is home to around 11 million ethnic Uyghurs which make up more than 50 percent of its population. However, the Uyghur muslim population has been subjected to inhuman detention, extensive surveillance and religious indoctrination in the garb of crackdown on terrorism by the Chinese Communist Party.
In the name of combating religious extremism and maintaining social stability, muslim Uyghur, Turkic and Kazakh minorities are being arbitrarily detained in prison-like detention centres called re-education camps. Around 800,000 to 1.1 million people, predominately Uyghurs, are currently held in detentioncentresin poor conditions, separated from their families and forced to denounce their ethnic and religious identity.There are around 182 suspected camps and 209 prisons.
The detentions have primarily targeted male heads of households. With community leaders, religious authority figures, and husbands removed, the state has targeted Uyghur women subjecting them to forced abortions, intrauterine injections and sterilizations, and forced marriages with Han Chinese, creating major implications for demographics and birth rate of the Uyghur population. The natural population growth in Xinjiang fell by 84 percent in the two largest Uighur prefectures between 2015 and 2018, and declined further in 2019.
The Chinese leadership sees any expression of Islamic religious piety as crime and has detained people for reasons such as having more than the permitted number of children, growing beards, wearing a veil, going to Islamic pilgrimage, applying for a passport, etc. The population is also subjected to a high degree of surveillance and monitoring. Besides detention centres, there are also a number of forced labour camps where the Uyghurs work without any monetary compensation. There is also widespread organ harvesting of the Uyghur population.
Repressive measures have dramatically been scaled up since Chen Quanguo assumed the role of XUAR Party Secretary in 2016. Chen has adopted a draconian approach to suppress religious minorities through massive security recruitments and setting up grass root vigilance cells to keep a check on dissenting voices, and simultaneous increase in the number of detention camps and detainees.
In view of growing atrocities under the watch of Chen Quanguo, the US government recently sanctioned him and other senior Chinese CCP officials responsible for the atrocities in Xinjiang. The sanctions mark a hard fought significant step forward in terms of holding accountable the perpetrators of atrocities against Uyghurs.
The EU has also taken up the Uyghur cause. Last yearit awarded its top human rights prize – the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought – to Uyghur economist IlhamTohti. In December 2019, the EU passed a resolution calling for targeted sanctions and asset freeze of the Chinese officials responsible for severe repression of basic rights in Xinjiang. However, the resolution is yet to take concrete shape of EU-wide sanctions framework.
Protests are being organized on August 28 at different places in the world including New York (UN), Washington, Berlin, London and Adelaide to highlight the following:-
(a) Illegal confinement of Uyghurs in re-education camps;
(b)Seperation of Uyghur children from their parents;
(c) Illegal Organ harvesting;
(d) Forced serilisation/abortion of Uyghur women;
(e) Forced labour without monetary compensation;
(f) Forced marriages between Han Chinese and Uyghur women;
(g) Electronic surveillance and human mapping in order to establish absolute control over the local populous in XUAR.
Chen Quanguo is completing four years in office on August 29, 2020, and Uyghurs all over the world are marking the day as Black Anniversary. On this day, we would urge the EU to denounce the egregious human rights violations in Xinjiang and take concrete actions in furtherance of the EU resolution of December 2019.
We thank you for your attention