As the Coronavirus pandemic brings the rest of the world to a halt, China, several months after it declared a global pandemic, has begun to ease its lockdown restrictions.
The immediacy of the effects of COVID-19 naturally brought production in China to a standstill; however, while stringent measures were introduced to curb the spread of the virus, credible reports and leaked video footage reveal the continued movement of Uyghur workers (transported via segregated trains) to forced labour sites in Xinjiang and wider provinces of China during the outbreak.
The transfer of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities predates the pandemic; however, recent evidence adds to mounting concern regarding the health and wellbeing of Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minority groups in China. The current situation demands urgent action from the international community to bring the inhumane treatment of predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities in China to an end.
As members of the Jewish community, our experience of religious (and ethnic) persecution shows us the importance of speaking up against this injustice and for the rights to protection and equality – rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The hope then, for all future generations, was expressed in the words “Never Again” yet history has concerning predictions for what will happen in Xinjiang, if it has not already happened.
Now, more than ever, it is important to draw on our experience of persecution to stand up against the Chinese government’s human rights abuses, political indoctrination and systematic forced labour of Uyghurs Muslims and other ethnic minorities and advocate for the freedom of these peoples.
The full briefing can be accessed and downloaded here.