Aug 28, 2019

UNPO Denounces Chinese Attacks on its Vice-President

On 27 August 2019, UNPO member, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), learned that the Chinese delegation to the United Nations in Geneva had circulated a note verbale among other UN delegations urging them not to take a meeting with Dolkun Isa, the President of the WUC and Vice-President of the UNPO. Mr. Isa has been in Geneva to highlight the continued repression of the Uyghur people in China, including the detention of millions of Uyghurs in concentration camps.

The note verbale continued China’s repeated attempts to falsely brand Mr. Isa a “terrorist” who has “conducted violent activities in China” and to take reprisals against him for his tireless efforts to highlight China’s crimes against humanity and represent the interests of the Uyghur people.

Mr. Isa has long been a critic of the Communist regime in China. During his student years, he was a leader of the pro-democracy demonstrations held at Xinjiang University in June 1988, which later converged into the Tiananmen Movement in 1989. He was expelled from university in September 1988 after four months of house arrest and subsequently completed his degree in physics through independent study. Over the following years he helped copy and distribute Uyghur history books to his community, leading to his being forced to flee China in 1994. Eventually he was able to find asylum in Germany, protection granted because of his persecution on grounds of political belief, where he has continued to campaign for democracy, human rights and freedom for the Uyghur people ever since.

China’s efforts to silence Mr. Isa since he fled the country have been persistent. Mr. Isa’s name has been repeatedly smeared across the world. His mother was targeted, detained, and tragically died in a Chinese concentration camp because of his activities. His attempts to seek accountability at the United Nations have been repeatedly frustrated by the bullying and blocking tactics that the UNPO has documented in its recent report, Compromised Space: Bullying and Blocking at the UN Human Rights Mechanisms. And for years he struggled to move freely as a result of an Interpol Red Notice, repeatedly ruled illegal political persecution by national governments and eventually by Interpol itself, issued by China seeking his extradition to face charges of terrorism.

These efforts show the Communist Party’s fundamental disregard for basic tenants of international law, the international system, and its partners at the United Nations. Its efforts to take reprisals against human rights defenders such as Mr. Isa have led it to manipulate and pervert key components of the international system, in particular the international human rights and criminal cooperation mechanisms, such as the Human Rights Council and Interpol, established to make the world a safer place. The UN’s civil service has been corrupted, as exemplified by the recent admission of a senior UN officer that used his position to block Mr. Isa’s work on China’s behalf during his time in service. And as with the note verbale and the Interpol Red Notice, national governments have been repeatedly lied to at both the diplomatic and judicial levels.

These activities are putting the international system at risk, destroying trust and undermining cooperation at a time when international cooperation over real issues (from international terrorism, to climate change, and migration) is so badly needed.   

As a result, we are calling upon all delegations who received the note verbale and the UN itself to respond in kind to China with a similar note informing China’s delegation to the United Nations that its actions are unacceptable and must immediately stop.


Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons