Italian Politicians Inquire About Uyghur HR Activist Detainment
Following the detention and denial of entry into the Italian Senate of Mr Dolkun Isa - Vice-President of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and Secretary General of the World Uyghur Congress, Senators Luigi Compagna and Luigi Manconi, together with Italian Member of Parliament Roberto Rampi, submitted 2 questions to the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate to inquire about the Italian point of view on this abuse of the Interpol "red alert" which prevented Mr Isa from practicing his freedom of expression. The politicians also asked what the government would do to avoid the abuse of Interpol's "red alert" in Italy and abroad, and which initiatives the government intends to undertake to determine the reasons for this incident given the questionable discrepancies in the timescale of Mr Isa's detainment, and how they plan a future prevention of similar events from happening again.
Below you may find both the question posed to the Italian Senate and that to the Italian Chamber of Deputies:
Tuesday 1 August 2017, session n. 870
COMPAGNA, MANCONI - To the President of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the Internal Affairs, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation
the press conference, put forth by the Nonviolent Radical Party, Transnational and Transparty, with Dolkun Isa, Secretary of the World Uyghur Congress had been scheduled to take place on Wednesday 26 July 2017 in the Senate several days before;
the press conference took place, but without the presence of the Uyghur human rights defender, as approximately 20 security officers escorted him to undergo verification checks immediately before the event, thus effectively preventing his participation;
this incident has been covered in the international press, such as on an online article by the New York Times on the 28th July;
Mr Isa was held in custody for about three hours, sufficient time for him to miss the entirety of the conference;
the reasons behind this detainment are related to a so-called red-alert by Interpol, the important international police organisation;
that regarding this instrument (so called “red alert”), the international community is beginning to question whether this is running the risk of becoming a way to reach dissidents, political opponents and human rights defenders across borders, as opposed to its original purpose of being an instrument to combat international organised crime;
in this respect, the last act approved by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was Resolution 2171, adopted on 26 April 2017;
in addition, since 2012 (Munich Declaration and Istanbul Declaration the following year) the Parliamentary Assembly of OSCE have adopted resolutions which call for a more cautious use of the red-alert;
Interpol itself has raised concerns regarding the correct use of the red alert, in a constructive confrontation with the realities of those civil societies most vulnerable to these tactics;
Furthermore, given that:
in 1997 Dolkun Isa received political asylum in Germany, of which he then became a citizen in 2006;
the World Uyghur Congress was established in Munich, Germany, on 16 April 2004;
the President of the World Uyghur Congress, Rebiya Kadeer, who obtained US citizenship, has received important awards for her human rights advocacy and has in the past been nominated for the Novel Peace Prize;
the Uyghur people are a Muslim Turkic minority residing in Xinjiang, an autonomous region in the north-west of the People's Republic of China, rich in oil and natural gas, with a surface area five times that of Italy;
the Uyghur minority is discriminated against and persecuted and numerous associations around the world are dedicated to advocating for their human rights to be respected;
Also considering that:
Italy, along with abiding by the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, adheres to the principal international documents that outline the protection of ethnic and religious minorities and the preservation of individual and group freedoms from any form of discrimination, both in the United Nations with the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities; as in the European Union with the European Convention on Human Rights, European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages and the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities;
Requests to know:
- If the Senate knows who called for Mr Dolkun Isa to undergo security checks at the very time he was scheduled to speak at a press conference and to what avail.
- what measures the government intends to take to prevent Interpol red alerts from being abused by certain governments.
- how the government is working, in collaboration with other countries that are members of Interpol, to ensure that the organisation focuses on effectively pursuing its aim to combat international organised crime.
To find the original official document in Italian, please click here.
To take a look at the Senate Act, please click here
Act of the Chamber of Deputies
Written Parliamentary Question 4-17604
Wednesday 2 August 2017, session n. 847
RAMPI - To the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Minister of Justice. Provided that:
this July 2017 at the Senate of the Republic, more precisely in the Hall 'Caduti di Nassiriya' in Palazzo Madama a press conference was scheduled to take place on 26 July 2017 at 12, entitled "SOS Rule of Law: Uyghur Emergency” and thatMr Dolkun Isa, Vice-President of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) and Secretary General of the World Uyghur Congress was due to speak;
on 25 July 2017 at 13.55 Dolkun Isa - a citizen of the Republic of Germany - landed in Fiumicino Airport with Lufthansa 1844 flight from Munich, and went directly to his hotel in the Pantheon area where he checked in on a reservation made to his name. He spent the afternoon and evening in Rome;
on 26 July 2017 Dolkun Isa left his hotel at 10.00 and went to the headquarters of the Radical Party in via di Torre Argentina 76;
at 11.30 am Dolkun Isa, Maurizio Turco, Laura Harth and Matteo Angioli of the Radical Party and Lucia Parrucci of UNPO left the Radical Party Headquarters to make their way to Piazza Capranica on foot.
half way through alley Vicolo della Spada di Orlando, between via dei Pastini and Piazza Capranica, they were followed by five police agents. At the end of the alley another five agents awaited them, and an additional ten agents in Piazza Capranica joined them.
they were then kindly received by Mr Messina of the General Investigations and Special Operations Division, known by its Italian-acronym DIGOS, of Rome - who asked for Dolkun Isa, of which he had a picture, asking if he was the person they were in fact looking for and to present a form of identification, to which Dolkun Isa presents his German identity card;
Mr Messina then asked Dolkun Isa to follow them to their offices for an identity check as there had been an alert from Interpol to his name, thus they made their way through Via San Vitale in an official car.
Dolkun Isa confirmed that he was put at ease and treated kindly and with respect by the police and that in these three hours they took his fingerprints and his picture, requests to know:- :
- if the Government is aware of this incident and what its opinion on the matter is, given that this has resulted in an infringement of the freedom of expression of the leader of a minority at an official institution of the Italian State;
- if there was an Interpol alert and Dolkun Isa was effectively considered to be a potential terrorist threat, why was he not stopped when boarding on his flight in Munich, when landing in Rome or when entering or exiting his hotel - why was he left free for 24 hours and only stopped in Piazza Capranica;
- what initiatives are intended to be undertaken to determine the reasons for this incident given the aforementioned timescale, to prevent similar events from happening again.
To find the original official document in Italian, please click here.
To take a look at the Chamber of Deputies Act, please click here.
Here you may also find UNPO's Lucia Parrucci on Radio Radicale with Senator Luigi Compagna, MP Roberto Rampi and the Radical Party's Laura Harth discussing the incident.