The Hague, 13 September 2006 - UNPO General Secretary Marino Busdachin welcomes the nomination of UNPO Member and Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer for the Nobel Prize.
The Hague, 13 September 2006 - The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) welcomes the nomination of prominent Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer for the Nobel Prize, made by Swedish parliamentarian Annelie Enochson.
The Uyghur American Association (UAA), which represents the collective voice of the Uyghur people in the United States of America, has issued a press release in which Ms. Kadeer states that “I am honored to have been nominated for such a prestigious prize. I view it as a mark of recognition of the plight of all Uyghur people. I am a woman of peace.” She adds, “Therefore I oppose all violence and acts of terrorism. I am committed to campaigning peacefully for the human rights of Uyghur people. I will continue to speak out against China ’s persecution of not only the Uyghur people, but also Tibetans, Mongolians, and the Chinese people themselves until all of them can enjoy their rights and freedoms.” (www.uyghuramerican.org)
Rebiya Kadeer has relentlessly worked to draw attention to the suffering of the Uyghur population in China’s north-western province of Xinjiang, tirelessly pressuring both the international community and the Chinese authorities to address the human rights violations common to the region. Rebiya Kadeer has already received the prestigious Rafto Prize for Human Rights, previous winners of which have on several occasions proceeded to win the Nobel Prize.
Kadeer, a mother of eleven, rose to prominence in her home province of Xinjiang after a number of successful business ventures earner her the praise of Chinese authorities and a prestigious consultative position. Her main focus fell however on directing her wealth towards the creation of employment and opportunity for the native Uyghur population. The Chinese authorities’ regard for Kadeer suffered a drastic reversal in 1999. After a long period of continuous surveillance, she was placed under arrest for allegedly transmitting “secret information,” in the form of clippings from publicly available newspapers, to her husband exiled in the United States. Whilst sentenced to imprisonment for eight years in a secret trail in 2000, intensive international pressure secured her early release in 2005.
The Uyghurs are a distinct, Turkic-speaking ethnic group whose homeland enjoyed a brief period of autonomy as East Turkestan in the late 1940s, but who have lived under Chinese rule since 1949. Eastern Turkestan is a founding member of UNPO. UNPO is especially encouraged by the timing of Kadeer’s nomination, as reports continue to suggest a steady deterioration in the conditions of the Uyghur population of East Turkestan. The predominantly Muslim population is known to have suffered as a result of a range of government actions in the region, conducted under the cloak of the “war on terror.” Arbitrary detention, including that of members of Kadeer’s own family and staff, are especially troubling. A renewed focus on the Uyghur is also welcome in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, an event which has revived the international community’s interest in China’s human rights record.
UNPO General Secretary Marino Busdachin is proud to count the remarkable Rebiya Kadeer amongst the leaders of UNPO. “We are confident that there is no better candidate for the prize with respect to the cause of universal human rights and as a means of forcing China to confront its exceptionally poor human rights record and to recognise its peoples’ desire for brisk and far-reaching democratic reform,” Mr. Busdachin states.
This year’s winner of the Nobel Prize will be announced in Oslo on 13 October. Kadeer’s selection would undoubtedly do a great deal to advance the universal cause of democratic and human rights, as well as raising awareness of the plight of indigenous populations such as the Uyghur.