July 3, 2017
Photo Courtesy of WUC
Uyghur scientist and human rights activist Ilham Tohti – former candidate for the Sakharov Prize – was awarded the Weimar Human Rights Prize by Weimar city council for his commitments to the rights of Uyghurs in the Xinjang autonomous region. On 30 June 2017, the City Council made the decision following to the recommendation of the Advisory Committee on the Award of the Weimar Human Rights Award, which had voted for a proposal from the Ilham Tohti Initiative and the Society for Threatened Peoples of Germany. The justification of the City Council states: “As a renowned professor of economic and social issues at the Central Nationalities University of Beijing, Ilham Tohti has been tirelessly trying to point out to a broad public the serious economic and social dilemmas of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang. He has always advocated a peaceful coexistence between the ethnic groups of the Uyghurs and Han Chinese, as well as other minorities, and has only observed compliance with the existing autonomy law by the Chinese government. In September 2014, the ethnic bridge builder and inconvenient advisor, who always claimed that Xinjiang Autonomous Province remained an integral part of the People's Republic of China, was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Urumchi Middle People's Court for separatism. The City Council hopes that the award will spread Tohti's message of peace and dialogue and the efforts for his release. "
The award ceremony will take place on 10 December 2017 on the occasion of the International Day of Human Rights, in a public, festive context.