What: IOHR join in solidarity with the Uyghurs to protest outside the Chinese Embassy in London
When: Tuesday 5 February 2019
The International Observatory of Human Rights joined the Uyghur community in London outside the Chinese Embassy on Tuesday 5 February to protest the unlawful detention and persecution of the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang region of western China.
The protest was held on the anniversary of the 1997 Ghulja massacre, where hundreds of peaceful Uyghur protesters were killed or imprisoned by Chinese State security forces. 2019 also marks the 30-year anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, so the protest was also the opportunity to highlight China’s human rights record on the first day of the Chinese New Year of the Pig.
Almost seventy Protestors rallied around the chant, “China. Shame on You. Stop the persecution of our families” opposite the Chinese Embassy in London. Speakers from the Uyghur community demanded the Chinese authorities to:
Valerie Peay, Director of the International Observatory of Human Rights called on the protesters to
“Let us all raise our voices to speak out for the voiceless. Let their stories be told. Let us not stand silent while innocent people are interned. This Cultural Genocide must be stopped“
Speaking during the rally Peay said, “The UK Parliament has the opportunity to keep up the pressure on China within the UN. We can’t put trade above human rights any more. There are many ethnic peoples suffering persecution in China and those countries that can bring influence need to act now”
UK political support continued as David Ball of Finchley and Golders Green constituency Labour party (CLP) attended the protest echoing support for the Uyghur’s cause. He said,
“Finchley and Golders Green CLP is proud to stand in solidarity with the Uyghur people, who are facing terrible persecution at the hands of the Chinese state.”
Finchley and Golders Green Labour Party also stressed that they would be, “raising this matter with the Labour Leadership, Shadow Cabinet and National Executive Committee to ensure that Labour’s policy is clearly to support the rights of the Uyghurs and an end to their oppression and persecution by the Chinese State, in line with Labour’s stated policy objective to put human rights at the heart of foreign policy.”
The protest was attended by members of the Uyghur and British Muslim communities. Aziz Isa Elkun of the Uyghur Community in London and Secretary of Uyghur PEN said at the protest,
“We must unite communities against this injustice, it is not about religion, it is about humanity.”
“So here we are protesting to the Chinese government to ask them where are our parents, brothers and sisters? We ask the world to say No to China’s ethnic cleansing of the Uyghurs before it’s too late.”
The plight of the Uyghur people has been raised in both houses of Parliament over the last few months and another oral question on the Uyghurs was raised in the House of Lords on 11 February by Lord Ahmed of Rotherham.
Lord Ahmed speaking outside the UK Parliament
In an exclusive IOHR TV interview, Nazir Ahmed, Lord Ahmed, member of the House of Lords said,
“It’s the responsibility of the free world..we raise concerns of people who are oppressed around the world so why not for Chinese Muslims, Chinese Christians, people with faith within China who want to be able to live freely. There is plenty of scope for us to ask our government to do the right thing”
“China has been using its economic muscle more and more to silence any criticism…but I don’t think we should be afraid about raising these concerns.”
The International Observatory of Human Rights was established in 2017 in London as an independent non-profit and non-governmental organisation.
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