EU-China Summit in Brussels (April 9)

EU must demand human rights for Uyghurs and Kazakhs (Press release)

The European Union must demand the Chinese government to put an end to the serious human rights violations against the Uyghurs and Kazakhs – and the issue must be addressed in the joint statement of the EU-China Summit (09.04.).

On the occasion of the EU-China Summit, which will take place in Brussels tomorrow, the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) calls on the European Union (EU) to demand the Chinese government to put an end to the serious human rights violations against the Uyghurs and the Kazakhs in the country. "The EU cannot simply ignore that more than 10 percent of a population group are suffering from crimes against humanity," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's director, in Göttingen on Monday. The EU must insist that the fate of the 1.5 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz people in Chinese re-education camps will be mentioned in the Summit's joint statement, which is being discussed since last week. So far, China refuses to include the situation of the Muslims in Xinjiang in the document.

According to the human rights organization, the abduction and compulsory re-education of 1.5 million people – solely based on their ethnicity and their Muslim faith – is one of the most serious crimes against humanity committed since the beginning of the 21st century, and the situation is still growing worse: the number of displaced persons has increased from 1.1 million to 1.5 million people since January 2019. "Anyone who remains silent about the forced re-education of the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and Kyrgyz is encouraging China's government to go on with these inhumane activities. International pressure is the only way to persuade China to put an end these crimes and to allow the victims to return to their families," Delius emphasized.

For example, China has repeatedly released abducted persons once their fate had become known to a broad public outside the People's Republic. The government in Beijing had tried to deny the existence of such camps until the summer of 2018. Then – under pressure due to testimonies of former inmates, satellite photos, and detailed human rights reports – it had to admit that large parts of the civilian population of the Xinjiang region had been deported and interned. "If the EU aims to take responsibility for the protection of victims of human rights violations, it must not remain silent about their fate just because of economic or political interests," Delius warned.

Header Image: European External Action Service via Flickr (CC by-NC 2.0)