October 5, 2005

UNPO on the People Republic of China's Unjust Arrest of Uyghurs and draft Anti-Terrorist law

The Hague, 05 October 2005-


APPEAL FOR THE RELEASE OF UNJUSTLY JAILED UYGHUR PRISONERS AND ABOLITION OF DRAFT ANTI-TERRORISM LAW


The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO), continues to receive signals of ongoing human rights violations against the ethnic Uyghur community, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in northwest China, and in view of the recent drafting of an anti-terrorism law by the Chinese government that may be used for marking Uyghur peace activists as terrorists, we urge you to sign this appeal.

UNPO believes that the imprisonment of Uyghur human rights activists in the XUAR is in conflict with Article 4 of the constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which states that:

All ethnic groups of the People's Republic of China are equal. The state protects the lawful rights and interests of the minority ethnic groups and upholds and develops the relationship of equality, unity and mutual assistance among all of China's ethnic groups. Discrimination against and oppression of any ethnic group are prohibited; any acts that undermine the unity of the ethnic groups or instigate their secession are prohibited.

By jailing Uyghur human rights advocates, the Chinese government restricts any independent expression of Uyghur ethnic, cultural or religious identity. There is a great potential risk that such expression will be deemed to constitute "separatist", "terrorist" or "illegal religious" activities by the authorities, leading to arbitrary detention, torture and other grave human rights violations.

Furthermore, we are greatly concerned that these violations of human rights in the XUAR will intensify by charging these expressions of identity under a new soon-to-be adopted anti-terrorism law. China is preparing an anti-terrorism law that will seek to tackle the threat from terror groups by cutting off their funding, state media reports.

Taking into consideration the recent developments, as well as the unjust imprisonment of many Uyghur people, for expressing their ethnic, cultural or religious identity, UNPO urges the International Community, as well as representatives of international human rights bodies:

To call for the immediate and unconditional release of unjustly imprisoned Uyghur people;

To voice concern with regard to the Chinese initiative in the drafting of the recent anti-terrorism law that potentially threatens Uyghur People and other ethnic minorities in China.

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