East Turkestan: Praise for Canada’s Stance on Human Rights in China
Below is a press release of the Uyghur American Association published on their Website:
November 17, 2006
Uyghur American Association
Rebiya Kadeer, president of the Uyghur American Association (UAA), today expressed gratitude to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper for his insistence on including human rights in discussions with senior Chinese officials – including Chinese president Hu Jintao – at the APEC summit in
It is understood from press reports that Mr. Harper’s determination to include human rights on the agenda led the Chinese side to cancel discussions at the last moment. Mr. Harper is thought to be particularly concerned about the status and welfare of a naturalized Canadian citizen, Huseyin Celil, a Uyghur who was reportedly sentenced to 15 years in a Chinese prison on unknown charges in August 2006. The Chinese authorities refuse to recognize Mr. Celil’s status as a Canadian citizen, and in stark contravention of international consular protocols have reportedly ignored or rebuffed all attempts by Canadian diplomatic staff in China to intervene on Mr. Celil’s behalf.
“Prime Minister Harper’s hugely commendable act is an example of how international engagement with the Chinese government is supposed to encourage improvements in human rights in
Huseyin Celil is a charismatic imam based in
Upon being granted his Canadian citizenship, Mr. Celil went to
The Chinese authorities claimed that Mr. Celil was involved in terrorist activities, although it is not publicly known what he is suspected of actually doing to warrant this accusation. Since 9/11, the Chinese authorities have tended to brand all Uyghur political opposition as either terrorist, separatist, or inspired by religious extremism. It is assumed that Mr. Celil has been charged with terrorist crimes in response to his peaceful political activities before he left
“For the sake of Huseyin Celil and everyone else seeking protection of their fundamental human rights in China, we hope that Beijing can pass this most simple test of its stated commitment to human rights and the rule of law, and start co-operating with Canadian consular staff,” added Ms. Kadeer.