The "International Uyghur Forum: Global Parliamentarian Convention" took place in Tokyo, Japan, from October 30 to 31, 2023, bringing together parliamentarians, Uyghur rights advocates, and prominent figures from around the world to discuss pressing human rights concerns and promote international cooperation. This two-day event, jointly organized by the Japan-Uyghur Parliamentary Caucus (JUPC) and the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), featured discussions on a wide range of critical issues.
The primary focus of the conference was to address the severe human rights abuses against the Uyghur people, with a special emphasis on the Uyghur genocide occurring in East Turkestan (Xinjiang). The event aimed to foster international collaboration and strategize ways to address the challenges associated with these issues. Additionally, the conference addressed broader regional concerns, including the erosion of democratic systems in Hong Kong, military tensions in the vicinity of Taiwan, and China's impact on peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
Among the attendees were members of the Tibetan contingent, including Secretary Karma Choeying from the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), Central Tibetan Administration, Dorjee Tsetan, Member of Tibetan Parliament in Exile, and members of Tibetan civil society.
Secretary Karma Choeying emphasized the systematic erasure of cultural identities among Tibetans and Uyghurs by the Chinese Communist regime. He raised issues such as China's forced enrollment of Tibetan children into state-sponsored schools and the mass collection of DNA samples from Tibetans as severe human rights violations. He called on free and democratic nations to consider marginalized groups, including Tibetans, Uyghurs, Southern Mongolians, Hong Kongers, and Taiwanese, as partners in efforts to effect positive change in China.
The conference highlighted the parallels between the experiences of the Uyghurs and Tibetans under the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) occupation, underscoring a consistent pattern of repression and cultural assimilation.
Parliamentarians from around the world issued a joint declaration during the International Uyghur Forum, calling on Japan to conduct an independent investigation into the Chinese government's rights abuses against Uyghurs in Xinjiang and to sanction Communist Party officials involved in these abuses. The declaration highlighted the dire situation of the Uyghurs, with an estimated 1.8 million Uyghurs and Turkic minorities detained in Xinjiang in "re-education" camps. The United Nations has found evidence of torture, forced labor, and sexual violence against Uyghurs, leading Western governments to declare China's actions as crimes against humanity and genocide. Beijing has denied these accusations.
Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress and one of the event's organizers, emphasized the importance of Japan's involvement, given its status as a major economic power in Asia and a democratic neighbor to China. The conference aimed to "break the silence" of other Asian countries that might not be fully aware of the Uyghur situation.
While Tokyo has not officially recognized the rights violations in Xinjiang as genocide or crimes against humanity, the Japanese parliament expressed concern about rights issues in China, including the treatment of Uyghurs. The event was organized by several groups, including the Japan Uyghur Parliamentary League and the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China.
The International Uyghur Forum also discussed legal strategies to address the issue, including a criminal complaint filed in Argentina alleging that China committed genocide and crimes against humanity through its policies targeting Muslims in Xinjiang.
The conference served as a platform for global leaders to collaborate on addressing the Uyghur genocide and other critical human rights concerns, reaffirming the commitment of the international community to bring an end to these grave violations.
Edited and collated by Team TRC