From June 29th to July 7th, Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) Executive Director Rushan Abbas and Center for Uyghur Studies (CUS) Executive Director Abdulhakim Idris together with World Uyghur Congress (WUC) Berlin Office Director, Gheyur Qurban, and the Managing Director of the Axel Springer Freedom Foundation, Antje Schippmann conducted an advocacy trip to Germany where they had a series of crucial meetings with government officials, civil society representatives, and business leaders.
Meeting with Lawmakers: The advocacy team engaged in a series of high-level meetings with lawmakers and Members of the Bundestag (MdB). The delegations met with Reinhard Bütikofer (Member of the European Parliament), Frank Schwabe (Federal Government Commissioner for Freedom of Religion), Michael Roth (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the German Bundestag), Roderich Kiesewetter (MdB of the Christian Democratic Union of Germany – CDU/CSU), Franz Xaver Mauerer (Senior Foreign Policy Adviser of the CDU/CSU), Andreas Larem and Michael Müller (MdBs of the Social Democratic Party), and Frank Müller-Rosentritt (MdB of the Free Democratic Party). In these meetings, delegations briefed lawmakers on the Chinese government’s genocide in East Turkistan, crimes against humanity, and the case of Dr. Gulshan Abbas.
ED Rushan Abbas specifically asked the lawmakers to utilize the 2014 UN Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes to assess the situation, as required by the Genocide Convention. She also called for the strategic enforcement of the new German supply chain law and implementation of a “rebuttable assumption” similar to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The delegations also emphasized the need to carefully consider the curricula at Confucius Institutes in Germany to avoid contributing to the legitimization of ongoing persecution. During the meetings, many lawmakers expressed their solidarity with the Uyghur community.
Combatting Slave Labor: A primary objective of this advocacy trip was to engage with relevant entities to end the flow of forced labor products to Germany and the EU. To accomplish this goal, official meetings were convened with distinguished individuals and organizations including Miriam Saage Maß (Legal Director) and Chloé Bailey (Legal Advisor) at European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, Markus Löning (former Special Counsel for Human Rights, now Advisor For Businesses Regarding Supply Chain Laws), Friedolin Strack, (Spokesman of the Asia Pacific Committee of the German industry), Representatives of Helpdesk on Business & Human Rights, Bianca Kühl, (leader of the German Unions Association.) The advocacy team was also hosted by the Chair of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, MdB Renata Alt, representatives of the US Embassy in Germany and Friedrich Naumann Stiftung to engage in a discussion regarding slave labor products.
During these meetings, delegations highlighted the ethical imperative for companies to ensure their supply chains are free from forced labor. ED Rushan Abbas highlighted Dr. Adrian Zenz’s research on the intensification of labor transfer and vocational skills training policies in East Turkistan, which increases the risk of forced labor in mid to higher-level positions. The delegations also urged that entities should thoroughly investigate and mitigate the risk of forced labor in supply chains and ensure the enforcement of existing laws.
Special events: On June 29th, CFU ED Rushan Abbas, CUS ED Abdulhakim Idris, WUC President Dolkun Isa and Berlin Office Director, Gheyur Qurban were invited by the US Ambassador to Germany, Amy Gutmann to attend the Independence Day celebration in Berlin. The delegations met with Ambassador Gutmann, Deputy Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner, and many other leaders at the event. On June 30th, ED Rushan Abbas delivered an important speech at the DAI Heidelberg (Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut)’s House of Culture, raising awareness about the Uyghur Genocide to professionals from academia, media, and other relevant fields. On July 4th ED Rushan Abbas and Ms. Antje Schippmann were invited to join an empowering gathering of female parliamentarians, actresses, journalists, businesswomen, civil society leaders, and scholars. Rushan advocated for the plight of Uyghur women to the special guests, which included the Chairwoman of the Defense Committee, MdB Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, MdB Franziska Hoppermann, and actress Ms. Melika Foroutan. On July 5th, ED Abbas was interviewed by Matt Karnitschnig from Politico at the Women Inspire event organized by the Axel Springer Freedom Foundation. On July 6th, delegations participated in a Dissidents breakfast meeting with MdB Michael Brand and Chair of the Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid, MdB Renata Alt, the Policy Advisor for the Christian Democratic Union of Germany, Daniel Andrae, and many others to draw attention to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.
During this advocacy trip, CFU successfully reached a larger audience and garnered international support for the Uyghur cause. CFU expresses its heartfelt gratitude to all the parties that have attentively listened to the plight of Uyghurs and facilitated our advocacy tour in Germany. CFU remains committed to amplifying the voices of Uyghurs worldwide and actively strives to bring an end to the ongoing Uyghur genocide and the issue of Uyghur forced labor.