Amnesty Condemns “Tragedy of Separation from Uyghur Family” in Xinjiang | Uyghur news
Amnesty International has called on China to allow exiled Uyghur parents to reunite with their children in Xinjiang without fear of being sent to “oppressive” internment camps.
The human rights group released a new report on Friday describing the plight of six families living outside China who have been cut off from their children since 2017, when Beijing stepped up its crackdown on Uyghurs, detaining more than a million members of the Muslim minority at what he called “vocational training centers”.
At the time, the parents – some of whom had fled Xinjiang due to increased police harassment and others to study and work – had left one or more of their children in the care of their families in their hometown.
Mothers and fathers thought they would soon be reunited with their children, but “Beijing’s ruthless detention campaign in Xinjiang” has put them in “an impossible situation,” said Alkan Akad, Amnesty International researcher on the issue. China.
Parents, fearing persecution and arbitrary detention, could not return home to care for their children. But the children were also not allowed to leave and join their families.
“The tragedy of family separation in Xinjiang reveals the inhumanity of China’s efforts to control and indoctrinate Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups in the name of ‘fighting terrorism’,” Akad said.
“China must end measures that restrict the right of all Muslim minorities to freely leave and return to the country. He must close all political “re-education camps” and release detainees immediately, unconditionally and without prejudice, “he added.
There was no immediate comment from Beijing.
China has previously dismissed claims of rights violations in Xinjiang, saying the camps have been “extremely effective” in reducing “religious extremism” in the region.
‘My wife and I cry at night’
In a press release accompanying its report on Friday, Amnesty said Uyghurs abroad are often reluctant to speak publicly about human rights violations for fear of repercussions against those close to them in China. But he said the six families interviewed for the report decided to share their stories in the hopes that they might eventually be able to return to their children.
Parents Mihriban Kader and Ablikim Memtinin told Amnesty that they fled Xinjiang for Italy in 2016 due to police harassment, leaving their four children in the care of Kader’s parents.
Shortly after they left, Kader’s mother was taken to a camp and her father was questioned by police.
“Our other relatives did not dare to take care of my children after what had happened to my parents,” Kader told Amnesty. “They were afraid of being sent to the camps too.”
The couple’s three youngest children were then sent to a public orphanage, while the eldest was placed in a boarding school. The couple were unable to contact them from Italy, but in November 2019 they received a permit from the Italian government to bring their children to join them.
The four children – aged 12 to 16 – traveled alone through China to the Italian consulate in Shanghai, but were seized by police and returned to the orphanage and boarding school.
“Now my children are in the hands of the Chinese government and I’m not sure I can see them again in my lifetime,” Kader said. “What hurts the most is that for my children, it is as if their parents no longer exist; as if we are deceased and they are orphans.
In another case, Omer and Maryem Faruh, who left two of their four daughters in the care of Meryem’s parents in 2016, told Amnesty they had not heard of their separated children for more than four years.
“My wife and I only cry at night, trying to hide our grief from our other children here with us,” Omer said.
The Faruhs, who obtained Turkish citizenship in June last year, tried to seek help from the Turkish authorities to get their two daughters out of China.
And although the Turkish Embassy in Beijing informed Omer that it had initiated the relevant procedures in August 2020 and sent a diplomatic note to the Chinese government in October 2020, to date the Faruhs have not been able to ‘bring the girls to Turkey.
“The heartbreaking testimonies of the parents we spoke to only scratch the surface of the suffering endured by Uyghur families separated from their children,” said Amnesty Akad.
“The Chinese government must end its ruthless policy in Xinjiang and ensure that families can be reunited as quickly as possible without fear of being sent to an oppressive camp.”
The report came as global pressure mounts on China for its treatment of Uyghurs.
The US government and the Canadian and Dutch parliaments have called Beijing’s actions against the Uyghur “genocide” “genocide,” and Washington has imposed sanctions on several Chinese officials in Xinjiang.
But China has dismissed the charge of genocide and warned Western countries not to interfere in its internal affairs.
Wang Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, told the United Nations Human Rights Council in February that “there has never been a so-called genocide, forced labor or religious oppression in Xinjiang.”
He also invited the UN human rights commissioner to visit the closed region, but did not give a timetable.