NGOS AND FAITH GROUPS WELCOME CALL BY FORMER ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY AND OVER 75 FAITH LEADERS FOR ACTION TO STOP ATROCITY CRIMES AGAINST UYGHURS
|Stop Uyghur Genocide, the World Uyghur Congress, the Coalition for Genocide Response, CSW and the Board of Deputies of British Jews welcome the release of a statement today by leaders of faith and belief communities calling for action to stop atrocity crimes against the Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), which the Uyghurs refer to as East Turkestan.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Cardinals of Myanmar and Indonesia, the Coptic-Orthodox Archbishop of London Archbishop Angaelos, some of Britain’s most senior Rabbis, Muslim faith leaders, the President of the Buddhist Society UK, the representative of the Dalai Lama in Europe and the Chief Executive of Humanists UK are among 76 signatories to a statement released today calling for action to stop “one of the most egregious human tragedies since the Holocaust: the potential genocide of the Uyghurs and other Muslims in China.”
The Bishops of Truro, Coventry, Southwark and St Alban’s, the former Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons Rose Hudson-Wilkin, now Bishop of Dover and the former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-ali, along with Rev. Jonathan Aitken, the former Cabinet minister and Canon Andrew White, former “Vicar of Baghdad” are also signatories, together with the Catholic Bishop of Clifton Bishop Declan Lang, the Executive Director of the Mecca Institute in Washington, DC and the Chief Convenor of the Islamic Centre of Myanmar, as well as the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptists Convention in the United States and Canada’s former religious freedom ambassador Rev. Dr Andrew Bennett.
Rabbi Joseph Dweck, Senior Rabbi, S&P Sephardi Community (and Ecclesiastical Authority of The Board of Deputies of British Jews), Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Interim Director of Liberal Judaism, Rabbi Dr Harvey Belovski, Senior Rabbi of Golders Green Synagogue, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism, Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg, Senior Rabbi for Masorti Judaism and Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger are among 20 Rabbis to sign the statement.
“We have seen many persecutions and mass atrocities. These need our attention. But there is one that, if allowed to continue with impunity, calls into question most seriously the willingness of the international community to defend universal human rights for everyone – the plight of the Uyghurs,” the statement reads.
“After the Holocaust, the world said ‘Never Again.’ Today, we repeat those words ‘Never Again’, all over again. We make a simple call for justice, to investigate these crimes, hold those responsible to account and establish a path towards the restoration of human dignity.”
The statement follows a letter last month from the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Marie van der Zyl, to the Chinese ambassador in London Liu Xiaoming, and a message from former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks, both of whom took the rare step of making comparisons between the Holocaust and atrocity crimes committed against the Uyghurs.
For further information contact:
Rahima Mahmut, World Uyghur Congress, at [email protected] or on +44 (0) 7830 039693
Kiri Kankhwende, Press and Public Affairs Team Leader, CSW at [email protected] or on +44 (0)782 332 9663
Ewelina Ochab, Coalition for Genocide Response at [email protected] or on (+44) (0) 7531 362203
Simon Round, Communications Officer, Board of Deputies of British Jews at [email protected] or on (+44) (0)20 7543 5437 or 07484 082483
Full text of the statement:
As religious leaders and leaders of belief-based communities, we come together to affirm human dignity for all by highlighting one of the most egregious human tragedies since the Holocaust: the potential genocide of the Uyghurs and other Muslims in China.
We have seen many persecutions and mass atrocities. These need our attention. But there is one that, if allowed to continue with impunity, calls into question most seriously the willingness of the international community to defend universal human rights for everyone – the plight of the Uyghurs.
At least one million Uyghur and other Muslims in China are incarcerated in prison camps facing starvation, torture, murder, sexual violence, slave labour and forced organ extraction.
Outside the camps, basic religious freedom is denied. Mosques are destroyed, children are separated from their families, and acts as simple as owning a Holy Quran, praying or fasting can result in arrest.
The world’s most intrusive surveillance state invades every aspect of life in Xinjiang.
Recent research reveals a campaign of forced sterilization and birth prevention targeting at least 80% of Uyghur women of childbearing age in the four Uyghur-populated prefectures – an action which, according to the 1948 Genocide Convention, could elevate this to the level of genocide.
The clear aim of the Chinese authorities is to eradicate the Uyghur identity. China’s state media has stated that the goal is to “break their lineage, break their roots, break their connections and break their origins.” As the Washington Post put it, “It’s hard to read that as anything other than a declaration of genocidal intent.” High-level Chinese government documents speak of “absolutely no mercy”.
Parliamentarians, governments and jurists have a responsibility to investigate.
As faith leaders we are neither activists nor policy-makers. But we have a duty to call our communities to their responsibilities to look after their fellow human beings and act when they are in danger.
In the Holocaust some Christians rescued Jews. Some spoke out. To quote Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil … Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act”. After the Holocaust, the world said “Never Again.”
Today, we repeat those words “Never Again”, all over again. We stand with the Uyghurs. We also stand with Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners and Christians throughout China who face the worst crackdown on freedom of religion or belief since the Cultural Revolution.
We urge people of faith and conscience everywhere to join us: in prayer, solidarity and action to end these mass atrocities. We make a simple call for justice, to investigate these crimes, hold those responsible to account and establish a path towards the restoration of human dignity.
|For further information or to arrange interviews please contact Kiri Kankhwende, Press and Public Affairs Team Leader at CSW on +44 (0)782 332 9663 or email [email protected].
CSW is a human rights organisation specialising in freedom of religion or belief. We work on over 20 countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. www.csw.org.uk