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Uyghur PEN Centre Conference in Crimea 19 July 2012.
 

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  • Xinjiang Authorities Detain Prominent Uyghur Journalist in Political ‘Re-Education Camp’

    RFA News 2018-10-18 Authorities in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are holding a prominent Uyghur journalist and poet in a political “re-education camp,” according to his son, who said the arrest is being used as leverage against him because he is living in exile in the U.S. Bahram Qurban, the son of former editor-in-chief of the official Xinjiang Cultural Journal Qurban Mamut, told RFA’s Uyghur Service that his parents visited him for a month in the U.S. beginning in February 2017, marking the first time the three had seen each other in more than nine years. After the couple returned home to the XUAR, 68-year-old Mamut went missing, and Qurban said that he later learned that his father had been taken to one of a network of re-education camps in the region, where Uyghurs accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” ideas have since April 2017 been detained without legal process. “I inquired about him and learned that he had been arrested,” he said. “He never committed any crime, but the authorities regularly arrest people who have relatives living abroad [to gain leverage over them]. I believe that is why he was arrested. While it isn’t my fault, I feel that I am the reason for his arrest.” Qurban said he believes his father was “arrested in February this year,” adding that by incarcerating Mamut, Chinese authorities had acted in violation “not only of international law, but of their own constitution.” Meanwhile, he said, his 66-year-old mother Aynisa Yaqup had been admitted to the hospital because her heart condition had worsened after Mamut’s arrest, and he had lost contact with his elder sister, 38-year-old Dilare Qurban. “For an elderly retired couple, this is an unimaginable assault,” Qurban said. “My father has always been a very career-driven […]

     
  • Prominent Uyghur Poet and Author Confirmed to Have Died While Imprisoned

    RFA Uyghur news 2021-01-25Reports of the death come as details emerge on the sentence length of another detained poet. The oldest of more than a dozen staff members arrested after their Uyghur-run publishing house in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) released “problematic” books has died while serving an 11-year jail term, according to official sources. At least 14 staff members of Kashgar Publishing House in the XUAR’s Kashgar (in Chinese, Kashi) city have been arrested since 2017, including Haji Mirzahid Kerimi, an 82-year-old former editor for the company and celebrated poet. The renowned writer had routinely risked his freedom by penning the most comprehensive histories of figures who helped to establish a Uyghur kingdom in Central Asia between the 8th and 11th centuries. Kerimi was sentenced to 11 years in prison, despite a serious health condition, because he wrote five books that were later blacklisted by the government and had delivered a “problematic” speech during an award ceremony for his poetry, sources told RFA’s Uyghur Service in late 2018. Reports that Kerimi had died on Jan. 9, 2021 recently began circulating on Uyghur-language social media and RFA was able to confirm that he passed away in prison while serving his latest term. An officer at the Id Kah Police Station in Kashgar refused to discuss whether Kerimi had died or whether he had overseen security at his funeral, referring further questions to the local Public Security Bureau (PSB). But two police officers from Kashgar, who spoke to RFA on condition of anonymity fearing reprisal, said that the author and poet had expired recently. “We heard word that he died—we don’t know the details, though,” one officer said. “They brought his body from the hospital,” he added, noting that it had first been brought to the hospital from the prison […]

     
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  • ‘Our souls are dead’: how I survived a Chinese ‘re-education’ camp for Uighurs

    After 10 years living in France, I returned to China to sign some papers and I was locked up. For the next two years, I was systematically dehumanised, humiliated and brainwashedby Gulbahar Haitiwaji with Rozenn Morgat The man on the phone said he worked for the oil company, “In accounting, actually”. His voice was unfamiliar to me. At first, I couldn’t make sense of what he was calling about. It was November 2016, and I had been on unpaid leave from the company since I left China and moved to France 10 years earlier. There was static on the line; I had a hard time hearing him. “You must come back to Karamay to sign documents concerning your forthcoming retirement, Madame Haitiwaji,” he said. Karamay was the city in the western Chinese province of Xinjiang where I’d worked for the oil company for more than 20 years. “In that case, I’d like to grant power of attorney,” I said. “A friend of mine in Karamay takes care of my administrative affairs. Why should I come back for some paperwork? Why go all that way for such a trifle? Why now?” The man had no answers for me. He simply said he would call me back in two days after looking into the possibility of letting my friend act on my behalf. My husband, Kerim, had left Xinjiang in 2002 to look for work. He tried first in Kazakhstan, but came back disillusioned after a year. Then in Norway. Then France, where he had applied for asylum. Once he was settled there, our two girls and I would join him. Kerim had always known he would leave Xinjiang. The idea had taken root even before we were hired by the oil company. We had met as students in Urumqi, the largest city in Xinjiang province, and, as new […]

     
  • Appointment of UHRP Board Chair Nury Turkel to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom

    UHRP Tue, 05/26/2020 For immediate release May 26, 2020 1:16 pm EST Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) (202) 790-1795, (646) 906-7722 The Uyghur Human Rights Project welcomes Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s appointment of UHRP Board Chair Nury Turkel to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). USCIRF is a leading voice in the global fight to defend religious freedom. “Speaker Pelosi’s appointment of a Uyghur American to USCIRF sends an important message. Nury’s work as a Commissioner will be a symbol of Uyghur Americans’ whole-hearted embrace of democratic values and religious freedom for all,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat.  “Nury has been an outstanding voice calling for global action to end the mass atrocities committed against Uyghurs in our homeland, East Turkistan,” Kanat continued. Mr. Turkel was a co-founder of UHRP in 2003, and has served as Board Chair since 2018. In his capacity as Board Chair of UHRP, Mr. Turkel has recently testified before Congress on Forced Labor, Mass Internment, and Social Control in Xinjiang and China’s Repression and Internment of Uyghurs. Mr. Turkel will fill the vacancy created by the expiration of the term of Commissioner Tenzin Dorjee. “It is an honor for a Uyghur American to take up a position previously filled by Professor Dorjee, whose homeland is Tibet,” said Kanat. UHRP thanks Dr. Dorjee for his dedication to ending religious persecution around the world, including the moral clarity of his statement in the USCIRF 2020 Annual Report, when he declared, “The time is now for serious multilateral government and global policy actions to end ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious’ religious freedom and human rights violations in China, including in Tibet and Xinjiang.” UHRP also applauds USCIRF for releasing translations of its 2020 report on China in  Uyghur, Tibetan, and Chinese. “To publish documentation of the suffering of our people in our own language is […]

     
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