China will not leave any loopholes in tracing the whereabouts of those who have been forcibly disappeared – Uyghurs

Since 2017, when the Chinese government launched a massive persecution system and camps in the Uyghur region and started mass abductions, it has been a challenge for Uyghurs abroad to trace their missing relatives in the Uyghur region and seek justice for them.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s report released on August 31 concluded that the Chinese government “may have committed crimes against humanity” against Uyghurs and other Muslims in the Uyghur region. The report also emphasized that enforced disappearance itself is a form of cruelty and inhumanity.

Chapter 7 of the UN report on Uyghurs states: “The implementation of anti-terrorism and extremism policies in the region has also had a profound impact on families in the Uyghur region. “Widespread arbitrary deprivation of liberty is a constant threat to Uyghurs and the Muslim-majority population of Shura, which has resulted in the separation of many families and their whereabouts.”

Chapter 7, Article 130 of the report states that among the complaints received by the UN Working Group on Forced and Involuntary Disappearances from 2017 to 2022, complaints from Uyghurs in the diaspora accounted for the majority. Also, the working group has documented several hundred cases of missing loved ones in the well-known Uyghur area, including cases where two-thirds of entire families have been forced to disappear.

The report states that in China, “the state authorizes, supports or acquiesces, and then refuses to recognize, by depriving people of their liberty or concealing the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared, leaving victims outside the protection of the law.”

According to the UN, as one of the signatories of human rights conventions, including the Convention on Enforced Disappearance, the Convention Against Torture, and others, China has the right to prosecute those who have been forcibly disappeared from China.

While the Chinese Communist government has responded to very few Uyghurs abroad about their missing relatives, Uyghurs have attempted to escape such disappearance claims by defining them as “arrest, detention, abduction or other forms.” I did not provide any information about the whereabouts of a large number of disappeared Uyghurs, the manner of their detention and their fate, or the legal procedures or executions, such as the judgment of conviction or punishment.

Michael Polak, an international human rights lawyer who recently filed a complaint against China’s crimes on behalf of Uyghur organizations to the Argentine Court of Justice, interviewed us to discuss the difference between “enforced disappearance” cases in other parts of the world and the enforced disappearance of Uyghurs by the Chinese regime in general. Discussing the challenges of legal advocacy, he said:

“If we look at the forced disappearance of Uighurs in the Uyghur region, it is fundamentally different from the forced disappearance of political activists or people in other parts of the world. In other places, for example, disappearances by the government do not rely on any legal process, are not enforced according to the law, and happen illegally.

But China imposes legal penalties on those who commit forced disappearances. Of course, they do this by relying on their own domestic laws, which are inconsistent with international legal order. This in itself creates a challenge for us to seek justice for victims. During this process, the direct victims of disappearances are kidnapped by China’s law enforcers and subjected to severe corporal punishment.

Mr. Michael also emphasized that the number of Uyghurs who have been victims of “enforced disappearance” is extremely large.

“We are worried that the number of victims of such disappearances in the Uyghur region will take the number of Uighurs in the camps, which are said to be one million to three million.

Of course, Uighurs abroad are also deeply worried about the fate of their missing family members. As you know, we, as well as the relevant United Nations agencies, are continuing to investigate the disappearance of Uyghurs in China based on international laws and conventions. But China is avoiding its responsibility and refusing to provide information about them.

In this UN report on Uyghurs, the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances also used data from the Xinjiang Victims Database, one of the platforms that search for family members of Uyghurs abroad, in hopes of finding the whereabouts of disappeared Uyghurs. It was also mentioned that information and audio recordings provided by loved ones and family members were reviewed.

In their report, they described the severity of the forced disappearance of Uyghurs as “disappearance has become a normal phenomenon in the country” from the many testimonies sent to various organizations and websites and the press.

Mr. Balshiyar Omar, head of the “Uyghur Judicial Archive” in Norway, from an independent agency that has been collecting statistical information on Uyghurs imprisoned in camps and missing without a trace, interviewed us. In fact, Uyghurs have been victims of “forced disappearance” by China for a long time, but since the beginning of the camps. The multiple sources of evidence presented illustrate that the camp system itself is a system designed to disappear.

American Uyghur lawyer Mrs. Raykhan Esat, who continues to search for the whereabouts of her brother who was forced to disappear by the Chinese government, and seeks justice for him, said that it is important to know each missing person individually, especially the family members and loved ones of the disappeared people play a key role in locating them. emphasized.

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