This week I hosted a webinar in partnership with the British Muslim Heritage Centre (BMHC), looking at how we can collectively help support the Uyghur Muslims, who are currently being persecuted in Xinjiang, China.
Evidence has shown gross human rights violations, including forced labour, detention, sterilisation, organ harvesting and denouncement of religion. The actions of the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang contravene China’s own constitutional provisions on freedom of religion and its obligations under the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These horrors are a sobering reminder of the reality on the ground and that the international community must help end these atrocities.
It was good to see fellow Parliamentarians, activists, human rights groups including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Labour Campaign for Human Rights, in attendance, a symbolic gesture of our solidarity with the Uyghurs.
Our esteemed speakers included, Uyghur activist, Rahima Mahmut, CEO of Hong Kong Watch, Benedict Rogers, Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy, Shadow Foreign Minister for Asia, Stephen Kinnock and CEO of BMHC, Maqsood Ahmad. Their moving insights helped raise greater awareness about the dire human rights situation in Xinjiang and helped bring Parliamentarians and others together to explore what should be done in response.
I, along with other Parliamentary colleagues, have been raising, for some time, the appalling human rights situation in Xinjiang, and we will continue using the Parliamentary platform to raise human rights concerns in China – in the hope we can urge the international community to do more to help support and protect human rights victims there. I fiercely condemn the atrocities taking place in Xinjiang and hope that a coordinated effort will help bring an end to these ongoing abuses. As the Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Uyghurs, I can reaffirm my commitment and I welcome the cross-party support on this issue.