Please make a donation to support René Cassin’s work to stop the persecution of the Uyghur Muslims in China.
You probably already know something of the horrors that the Uyghurs are currently suffering – mass internment; forced labour; sterilisation; removal of organs; obliteration of religious and cultural sites; outlawing of language, culture, and religious practice – and why we, as a Jewish human rights organisation feel compelled to speak out.
Less than two years ago, I knew very little of all this. Then I was introduced to Rahima Mahmut, a Uyghur living in exile in London. So much of what she told me resonated with the story of the Jewish people. She asked for René Cassin’s help in publicising the plight of her people, and in demanding an end to their suffering.
We invited Rahima to address a public meeting on the issue in May 2019. At that meeting, we pledged:
“… we believe it is important to bear witness to what is happening, raise awareness among the Jewish community, and advocate for an end to China’s persecution of its minorities.”
A story of Jewish solidarity …
We helped Rahima set up a campaign office in London, form a committed group of expert advisers, and formulate a strategy. By April 2020, she was telling Jewish News of the “heart-warming, peaceful, and spiritual” support she was receiving from René Cassin and the Jewish community. In July, a breakthrough in terms of publicity: Chilling Echoes – a livestreamed public event we co-hosted with Jewish News. From there, the momentum has built steadily:
- In December, the Chief Rabbi announced: “I can no longer remain silent about the plight of the Uighurs”
- On 12 January, Board of Deputies President, Marie van der Zyl said: “We are not willing to stand aside and do nothing as millions of people are herded into concentration camps”
- On 18 January, Jewish News justified only the second special front page in its history: “ … few issues could be more urgent than the human rights atrocities currently taking place against Uyghur Muslims under the world’s nose”
That unity of Jewish resolve was noted in the mainstream press, the Observer reporting on 24 January “Jewish leaders use Holocaust Day to decry persecution of Uighurs”.
Revisiting the pledge we made in May 2019: we have borne witness; we have raised awareness.
Now, please help us build on those foundations …
Help us take the next steps towards ending Uyghur persecution.
We plan to use the momentum we have helped create to:
- push for a ‘Genocide Amendment’ to the current Trade Bill – this would allow the UK’s High Court to make a judgment on China’s actions, and so compel the government to take further measures
- continue our campaign to persuade companies currently linked to forced Uyghur labour to source their supplies elsewhere
- build on moves to label next year’s Beijing Winter Olympics ‘the Genocide Games’ if China continues its current oppression of the Uyghurs
You may be one of the 60 or so people who heard Rahima’s plea that evening back in May 2019. If so, you were there with us at the beginning. Since then, with your support, we have come a long way. But we have a long, long way to go. Please give generously to ensure we can continue the progress we have made.
You can make an online donation now. Or, if you’d prefer, send a cheque of CAF voucher to René Cassin, 853 Finchley Road, London NW11 8LX.
P.S. René Cassin has committed itself to helping the Uyghurs on the long road to freedom. And it will be a long and difficult journey – so if you are able to become a ‘Friend of René Cassin’ by making a regular donation, it would be especially appreciated. To do so click the ‘I’d like to give regularly’ button on the donation link.
Where now? Listen to René Cassin’s Mia Hasenson-Gross speaking on Jewish News podcast 11 February 2021: