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Uyghur PEN Centre Conference in Crimea 19 July 2012.
 

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PEN International

 
  • China: Free Ilham Tohti

    PEN International 21 February 2018 Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur scholar sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of of separatism, in 2010 was focus PEN case for Mother Language Day in 2015. On International Mother Language Day, PEN International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of the imprisoned Uyghur writer Ilham Tohti. 21 February 2018 – Tohti is a public intellectual from China’s Uyghur minority and one the world’s foremost scholars on Uyghur issues. Arrested in January 2014, charged with ‘Splittism’ (advocating separatism) in July 2014, and convicted following an unfair trial on 23 September 2014, he was sentenced to life imprisonment and confiscation of all his property. Tohti’s appeal against his conviction and sentence was rejected in November 2014. Tohti has never promoted violence or separatism. In 2006, he co-founded the website Uyghur Online, aimed at promoting understanding between Uyghurs and Han Chinese. But his criticism of the Chinese authorities for their heavy-handed treatment of the Uyghur minority made him the target of frequent harassment. Following his initial arrest, the Bureau of Public Security for Urumqi alleged that Tohti had been using the website as a platform to recruit followers. PEN International first began working on Tohti’s case in 2009, following his detention for speaking out about ethnic unrest that broke out in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), on 5 July 2009. Initially placed under house arrest, he was later transferred to an unknown location where he was kept incommunicado before being released six weeks later. Further harassment followed, including periods spent under house arrest. Tohti is a member of Uyghur PEN and received the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award in 2014. He was an honorary Empty Chair at PEN International’s world congress in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, in 2014. Take Action: Write to the Chinese government: Calling for the […]

     
  • The PEN Charter

    PEN affirms that: Literature knows no frontiers and must remain common currency among people in spite of political or international upheavals. In all circumstances, and particularly in time of war, works of art, the patrimony of humanity at large, should be left untouched by national or political passion. Members of PEN should at all times use what influence they have in favour of good understanding and mutual respect between nations and people; they pledge themselves to do their utmost to dispel all hatreds and to champion the ideal of one humanity living in peace and equality in one world. PEN stands for the principle of unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations, and members pledge themselves to oppose any form of suppression of freedom of expression in the country and community to which they belong, as well as throughout the world wherever this is possible. PEN declares for a free press and opposes arbitrary censorship in time of peace. It believes that the necessary advance of the world towards a more highly organised political and economic order renders a free criticism of governments, administrations and institutions imperative. And since freedom implies voluntary restraint, members pledge themselves to oppose such evils of a free press as mendacious publication, deliberate falsehood and distortion of facts for political and personal ends. Where did our Charter come from?The Charter of PEN International has guided, unified and inspired its members for over 60 years. Its principles were implicit at the organisation’s founding in 1921. However, like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the PEN Charter was forged amidst the harsh realities of World War Two. It was approved at the 1948 PEN Congress in Copenhagen. Galsworthy’s inspirationPEN’s first president, the British novelist and playwright John Galsworthy, wrote the first three articles […]

     
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  • Women Writers

    The Women Writers’ Committee was set up in 1991 to promote certain issues faced by women writers around the world – challenges at family and national levels such as unequal education, unequal access to resources and actual prohibition from writing. The committee reaches out to both aspiring and practising women writers through PEN Centres and other organisations and networks, and works with the Writers in Prison Committee on behalf of incarcerated or endangered women writers. Representatives from the committee attend meetings of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The committee has held conferences in countries such as Nepal, Kyrgyzstan and Senegal, and has published special newsletters. It uses Facebook to connect the work of women writers to the world. For more information or to get involved with the Women Writers Committee please contact: Zoe Rodriguez, Chair of the WWC – zoerodriguezconsulting@gmail.com For a history of the Women Writers Committee click here: Women Writers Committee _________________________________________ Free Chimengul Awut: https://cpj.org/data/people/chimengul-awut/index.php http://www.azizisa.org/en/tag/chimengul-awut/ PEN International

     
  • Writers in Prison

    The Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of PEN International works on behalf of persecuted writers worldwide. It was established in 1960 in response to increasing attempts to silence voices of dissent by imprisoning writers and journalists. Working on behalf of persecuted writers worldwide, the WiPC monitors between 700-900 cases across the globe each year. The WiPC mobilises the wider PEN community to take action through its Rapid Action Network alerts, targeted regional campaigns, and by utilising PEN’s consultative status with the UN to submit UPR country reports. The Committee’s Rapid Action Network Alerts provide details of cases of individuals whose lives and liberty are being threatened and makes specific suggestions for action. In addition to its work on behalf of individual writers, the Committee creates campaigns on issues affecting freedom of expression, such as Religious Defamation, Impunity and Criminal Defamation, and campaigns focused on specific regions or countries, such as the Americas, Iran, China and Turkey. The Writers in Prison Committee also works through the UN to bring attention to individual cases and to systemic human rights problems in specific countries. Salil Tripathi is the Chair of the Writers in Prison Committee of PEN International, elected at the 81st PEN International Congress in Quebec City, Canada. From 2009-2013 he was co-chair of the Writers at Risk Committee at English PEN. Salil is an award-winning journalist and writer. He was born in India and has been a foreign correspondent in Singapore and Hong Kong and now lives in London. He is contributing editor at Mint and Caravan in India. His articles have also appeared in major international newspapers and magazines, including the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, New Statesman, Guardian, Independent, Far Eastern Economic Review, and many others. His awards include the Citibank Pan Asia Economic Journalism Award in 1994, […]

     
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  • Writers for Peace