Stop Persecuting the Uyghur Communities: Recognize their Freedom of Religion and Rights to Live

July 9, 2019

We, the undersigned organisations wish to affirm the fundamental rights of every human being to the right to life and the freedom of religion and belief. This affirmation is recognised in the charters, declarations and covenants of the international community. Specifically, we affirm Article 6.3 of the Asian Human Rights Charter which states that “the freedom of religion and conscience is particularly important in Asia where most people are deeply religious; many find their primary identity in religion”. The article together with other express provisions in other International Conventions of Human Rights are the necessary rights and conditions that serve to protect every human life and interest and make this world a better place to live in.

On this day 5 July 2019, as the world commemorates the 10th anniversary of the July 5th 2009 Urumqi Massacre, we wish to highlight the critical situation of human rights abuses of the Uyghur people and many other minority groups across the Xinjiang (East Turkestan) area. We note that the human rights violations of the Uyghurs people and their respective communities have increased significantly resulting in the rapid deterioration of the welfare and wellbeing of the Uyghur people.

In February 2019, the United Nations Human Rights Council released a report which documented Chinese authorities as having detained people without the due process of the law and placed them in “political education” camps for their perceived disloyalty to the government. It is reported that detainees in these camps are subjected to force political indoctrination, renunciation of their faith, mistreatment, and in some cases torture. Such acts could certainly be deemed as persecution on the basis of one’s faith and religion. It is contemptuous and should never be tolerated. In recent months, other UN officials, human rights organizations, and independent journalists have also supported such findings.

There are also restrictive legislation, suppression of the highest order and repressive policies in placed which the Uyghurs people routinely find themselves subjected to. Uyghurs are not allowed to peacefully practice their religion, to speak or move freely or even to be to be educated in their native language. This is all the worst when many Uyghurs are arbitrarily detained, confined in “political re-education” camps or made to disappear while in custody of Chinese authorities. These are grave human rights violations on the right to life and freedom of religion and belief.

For these reasons, we, the undersigned organisations strongly urge and demand the Chinese government to do as follows:

1. Respect the human rights of the Uyghur people, in particular their right to life and freedom of religion and belief. This is especially so when human rights such as the right to life and freedom of religion and belief is not something that can be bestowed or taken away by a government but intrinsic in every person as part of human dignity and worth.

2. As the world and international community continues to witness and hear reports of gross abuses and the rapidly deteriorating situation of the Uyghurs, the Chinese government must desist and immediately stop the persecution and extreme repression of the Uyghur people.

3. The Chinese government must immediately end the use of “re-education” camps as hundreds of thousands of innocent Uyghurs have been rounded up by the Chinese authorities into these camps to suffer physical abuse, maltreatment and even torture. Some have been found to have vanished in these camps.

4. The government of China should respect and protect the rights and religious freedoms of ALL its citizens, and the Uyghurs of China deserve the same rights and protection given to other communities as well.

We, the undersigned organisations also call on the international community to do the following:

1. To increase the voices of protest and disfavour upon the Chinese government for acts and omissions that do not respect and uphold the human rights of all people, including the Uyghur people and other religious minorities or communities who are prevented from having the freedom of religion and belief and the rights to a meaningful life.

2. To work together to improve the situation for the Uyghur people through concrete actions that wholly accounts for the history, traditions, language, religion and the culture of the Uyghur people. Priority should be given to address attempts at force cultural assimilation that could quite possibly lead to the annihilation of Uyghur identity.

As the situation of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang (East Turkestan) and other religious minorities in other parts of China continues to worsen or deteriorate, we ask the people from all parts of the world to pray and take steps to care for the lives and well-being of the Uyghur people and other religious minorities that are persecuted and under threat from the Chinese government. At all cost, human rights violations that are pervasive such as persecution on cultural and religious grounds, arbitrary arrests and the silencing of peaceful dissent must be resisted and cannot be allowed to fester and ferment.

We also call on all governments to uphold and protect the rights of Uyghurs including those of Uyghur refugees who may have fled their country for fear of discrimination and unjustified persecution. Like other refugees, they too deserve the same protection and justice.

In furtherance of this purpose, we the undersigned organisation acknowledge and affirm this Memorandum of Protest.

5th of JULY 2019 / 2 ZULKAEDAH 1440

N0 6, JALAN TC 24/2