East Turkestan: Speech by President of World Uyghur Congress
World Uyghur Congress
II General Assembly
Opening Plenary Session
By Erkin Alptekin
President of World Uyghur Congress
Honorable Ms. Rebiya Kadeer, General Riza Bekin,
Dear countrymen, delegates, ladies and gentlemen,
On behalf of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) it is my honour to hereby welcome you to the Opening Plenary Session of the Second General Assembly.
The WUC is an international organization that represents the collective interest of the Uyghur people both in
The need for the WUC is starkly reflected in the current desperate circumstances and frustrated situation for our people.
East Turkestan, also known as “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” in present-day
Uyghurs, seeking only to live their lives in dignity, continue to be arrested, tortured and executed on political grounds. According to Amnesty International, since 11 September 2001, the Chinese authorities have arrested more than 3,000 Uyghurs. Reuters, however, quoting Xinjiang Daily, reports on 21 January 2006 that in the year of 2005 alone, 18,000 Uyghurs were arrested after being accused of being ‘separatists’, ‘religious extremists’ or ‘terrorists’. Arrested Uyghurs are frequently subject to torture and that some have been left physically and mentally scarred as a result. U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Dr. Manfred Nowak, states that “torture in
Since the 1990’s, as a result of the current policies of the Chinese authorities, almost five thousand Uyghurs have been forced to leave their motherland and seek political asylum abroad.
I am, however, pleased to communicate to this Assembly also burgeoning positive elements. Since its establishment, the WUC, with its 25 affiliated organizations around the world, has, despite very difficult circumstances, played a major role in the integration of the Uyghurs world-wide.
Uyghurs who have settled in countries such as the
There is a nice saying: “…Abilities, without opportunity is of no account…” It gives meaning to the proven fact that if the Uyghurs, who are the children of a long-standing civilization, are given the opportunity, they can be very useful citizens. The Uyghurs who have been denied this opportunity in their own motherland by the Chinese authorities are now being reborn in the countries where they have settled.
With this opportunity, and on behalf of the WUC, I would like extend my deep appreciation to all those countries, including the Federal Republic of Germany, for granting Uyghurs political asylum in their country and providing them the opportunity be useful citizens of society.
Delivered 24 November 2006