Uyghur human rights activist expelled from UN premises

Human rights activists demand that United Nations must not be put under pressure by individual governments (Press Release)

Secretary General of the World Congress of the Uyghurs and member of the Organization of Non-Represented Nations and Peoples (UNPO), Dolkun Isa. Photo: GfbV-Archive

Several international human rights organizations are deeply concerned about the fact that human rights activists are increasingly cut short in United Nations (UN) debates. “We are indignant that it is apparently possible for governments to silence uncomfortable critics even in UN debates, as a means to stop them from publicly denouncing severe violations of human rights,” stated Ulrich Delius, the Director of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), in Göttingen on Monday. On April 26, the Secretary General of the World Congress of the Uyghurs, Dolkun Isa, had been forced to leave the premises of the United Nations in New York. He had participated in the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Affairs. The STP had accredited Isa for the forum. Investigations by the Organization of Non-Represented Nations and Peoples (UNPO) and the STP suggest that Isa had to leave the event due to pressure from China. The Uygur representative is a German citizen.

Together with the human rights organizations Human Rights Watch, Minority Rights Group International, China Change, International Campaign for Tibet, Initiatives for China, the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, Ogaden People’s Rights, Solidarité Chine, the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Center, Uyghur Human Rights Project, World Sindhi Congress, the World Congress of Uyghurs, and the Organization of Non-Represented Nations and Peoples (UNPO), the STP demands that the secretary’s office of the Forum must to provide a comprehensive report on the incident. The human rights organizations further demanded that “the rights of indigenous peoples’ representatives to express themselves in this arena be unconditionally respected in the future.”

Isa had been outside conference room 4 – where representatives of indigenous organizations, Forum members, UN agencies and states had discussed the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) – when security guards asked him to show his identification documents. He was then asked to leave the UN premises. Although he had asked, he was not given any reason. He was not even allowed to enter the grounds two days later.

In spring 2005, when Isa had visited the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, UN security forces had already detained him for a short while. “The Chinese government has repeatedly managed to keep Uyghurs from entering other states – most recently in 2016,” said Delius. China submitted a so-called “red notice” to INTERPOL in order to criminalize Dolkun Isa. Such a “red notice” serves to inform other INTERPOL member countries that a warrant has been issued, but it does not include any information about whether the person concerned is actually guilty of anything.

The joint press release of the human rights organizations can be found on our website www.gfbv.de.

Header Photo: GfbV-Archive