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Uyghur rights group nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

China blasts nomination of World Uyghur Congress, accusing it of having terrorist connections

Uyghur immigrants in Europe demonstrate to call on China to stop the persecution of the Muslim minority

Uyghur immigrants in Europe demonstrate to call on China to stop the persecution of the Muslim minority. (Photo: AFP) 

Published: March 10, 2023 11:41 AM GMT

Updated: March 10, 2023 11:44 AM GMT

Lawmakers from Canada and Norway nominated an international Uyghur rights group for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize for its contributions to human rights and for shedding light on China’s repression of the Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

The nomination for Germany-based World Uyghur Congress was sent to the Nobel Foundation by Canadian parliamentarians Sameer Zuberi and Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe along with Norwegian parliamentarian Ane Breivik, Voice of America reported on March 8.

In the nomination letter, Brunelle-Duceppe said that World Uyghur Congress, based in Germany, has made crucial contributions in drawing international attention to the overwhelming campaign of “physical, religious, linguistic, and cultural repression” inflicted by the Chinese government on Uyghurs.

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Duceppe further stated that the rights group conducts activities such as “campaigning for the people being forcefully disappeared, advocating for the release of political prisoners, protecting the rights of asylum” among others.

In a press statement on March 7, Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress said the group’s “hard work to end the Uyghur genocide has not gone unnoticed.”

“This nomination is not only a recognition of the WUC’s work, but a show of support for the Uyghur people as a whole,” Isa said.

“It is vital that the international community does not let the crimes committed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) against the Uyghurs go unnoticed and committed with impunity,” he said.

Isa further added that the nomination “is an important message against authoritarianism and reflects the importance of ending the Uyghur genocide,” in the press statement posted on the group’s website.

Since 2014, the Communist regime has unleashed a systematic, genocidal pogrom to crush Muslim Uyghur and other minorities, a culmination of longstanding Chinese-Uyghur conflict amid an active insurgency, rights groups say.

An estimated one million Muslims, mostly Uyghurs, are detained in secretive detention camps in Xinjiang where they face brutal oppression including forced abortion, forced sterilization, forced birth control, rape, forced labor, torture, internment, brainwashing, and killings.

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in Washington criticized the Uyghur group’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize alleging that the group is linked to “terrorist organizations,” VOA news reported.

"It is hoped that the prize will contribute to global peace and development, rather than falling into a political tool at the disposal of a few politicians," Pengyu said.

He further added that “nominating such an organization for the Nobel Peace Prize is highly detrimental to world peace and is a great irony of the Nobel Peace Prize."

However, Zumretay Arkin, advocacy manager of the Uyghur Congress dismissed the allegations of terrorist connections as fabricated by the Chinese regime in order to suppress Uyghur people.

"The Chinese government has perpetrated the same lies for decades," Arkin told VOA.

In 2022, a UN team investigated China's treatment of Muslim minorities in its Xinjiang region and found "credible" evidence of torture and sexual assault including rape at detention centers in the region.

"The Government's blanket denials of all allegations, as well as its gendered and humiliating attacks on those who have come forward to share their experiences... have added to the indignity and suffering of survivors," the UN report said.

The report alleged China possibly committed crimes against humanity against the Uyghurs but stopped short of describing the actions as genocide.

China categorically denied all charges laid out by the UN and other rights groups insisting that its detention and correction centers "fully guarantee that trainees' personal dignity is inviolable, and prohibit any insult or abuse of them in any manner".


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