May 7, 2007
The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization calls for the nomination of Uyghur Leader Rebiya Kadeer to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
As the People’s Republic of China prepares to stage the Olympic Games in 2008 it is in the process of constructing an international image that does reflect the reality of life within its borders. This is aided by a willingness to uncritically accept its accounts, as all European states continue to build economic relations with its expanding economy. The international community has however repeatedly been urged by human rights groups from around the world to remember that the People’s Republic of China remains a state in which the death penalty is applied more frequently than anywhere else, in which freedom of religions, speech, and assembly are substantially curtailed, and in which ethnic and religious minorities continue to suffer the systematic violation of the social, political, and human rights. The world’s democratic parliamentarians must act to ensure this reality is not forgotten.
Unfortunately the world is not short of candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize - a willingness to persecute and oppress continues to demand unfathomable bravery and resilience from the leaders of minority communities around the world. At a time when China is integrating itself ever more into the international economy, as it takes to the international stage during the Beijing Olympics, and as Muslims and women around the world continue to face oppression and marginalisation, Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) believes that there is no better time for Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, the President of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ms. Kadeer is herself amongst the victims of China’s efforts to bring “stability” to East Turkestan. Once a decorated and wealthy business woman, Ms. Kadeer’s fortunes reversed when she joined the cause of local rights groups, most notably through her foundation of the 1,000 Families Mothers Project, a charity intended to help Uyghur women start their own local businesses. An eight-year sentence followed her conviction for “undermining state security”, a charge justified on the grounds that she had sent her exiled husband a clipping from a local newspaper. An intensive international campaign secured her release, after which she continued to advocate the human rights of the people of East Turkestan, despite warnings from the authorities of the People’s Republic of China.
This threat has been realised most distressingly by the continued persecution of Ms. Kadeer’s family who remain in East Turkestan. Ablikim Abdureyim, one of her sons, was recently sentenced to nine years imprisonment for “instigating and engaging in secessionist activities, following the sentencing of another of her sons, Alim Abdureyim, to seven years imprisonment for tax-evasion.
Ms. Kadeer’s work has already earned her the Rafto Prize and a number of Nobel Peace Prize Nominations, and the time is now right for her to follow her many fellow Rafto Laureates who have already proceeded to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ms. Rebiya Kadeer will be visiting the European Parliament (ASP 5G1, from 12pm – 1pm) on 10 May 2007 as part of an event organised by UNPO and WUC aiming to build the capacity of the Uyghur community to promote the cause of human rights and religious freedom on the international stage. She will also attend a Press Conference at 3pm in the Press Room where she will outline the challenges faced by the Uyghur community in China, and present the case for greater international support for their activists.
The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to individuals or organisations that make a difference despite its costs. By recognising and supporting those who take risks and brave danger in pursuit of human rights and fundamental freedoms, the Prize itself has become a valuable weapon in the struggle against oppression and impunity.
Contact UNPO in order to learn more about Rebiya Kadeer.