CFU PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 9:00 PM ET
Sabrina Sohail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) welcomes the recent Opinion No. 88/2022 released on March 20, 2023 by the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) which has called on the Chinese regime to immediately release Mr. Qurban Mamut, Mr. Ekpar Asat, and Ms. Gulshan Abbas. On this occasion, CFU reiterates its demand that the Chinese regime immediately release these individuals, as well as all other Uyghurs and Turkic people who are being arbitrarily detained in East Turkistan.
The Chinese Government has falsely accused these three Uyghur individuals of terrorism and separatism, a common tactic used to justify their inhumane treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan. This was confirmed by Opinion No. 88/2022 which stated that the detentions of Mr. Mamut, Mr. Asat, and Ms. Abbas were arbitrary and violate international human rights law. The report highlighted that the Chinese authorities failed to provide any evidence of a legal basis for their detention, and their enforced disappearance put them outside the protection of the law. The report also emphasized that the only reason for the unjust detention of these individuals was their Uyghur identity and the Chinese regime’s refusal to acknowledge their equality as human beings.
Chinese officials continue to target intellectuals, cultural figures, and professionals from the Uyghur, Kazakh, and other communities as part of their genocidal campaign. Mr. Mamut, an intellectual and cultural figure among the Uyghur community, was primarily detained due to his significant role. He was forcibly disappeared by Chinese authorities in early 2017, and his family lost all contact with him.
Mr. Asat is an entrepreneur and founder of a popular social media application. While the basis of Mr. Asat’s initial detention remains unclear, it is believed that he may have been targeted due to his participation in the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Programme or his ties to individuals abroad. The Chinese authorities claimed that he was sentenced to 15 years for inciting ethnic hatred and discrimination, but his family has no evidence that a lawyer was present at the trial, or if there was even a trial.
Ms. Gulshan Abbas, a retired physician, was detained without any information provided by the authorities regarding the time, legal basis, or circumstances of her detention. It is believed that she was sent to a re-education center in September 2018, and in December 2020, her family learned from a third party that she had been sentenced to 20 years on baseless charges of participating in organized terrorism, aiding terrorist activities, and disrupting social order. Later Wang Wenbin, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) confirmed the sentencing without revealing the length of the jail term during a press conference on December 31, 2020. The illegal abduction of Dr. Gulshan Abbas from her home came only 6 days after her sister Rushan Abbas’ first public speech about the situation of Uyghurs and it is clear that Dr. Gulshan Abbas’ detention is retaliation for her sister’s activism, which is undoubtedly an example of CCP translational repression. To this day, there is no official notification of her exact sentence length from the regime.
Commenting on the report, CFU’s Executive Director Rushan Abbas stated that “The UN Working Group’s report on the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs is a clear and unequivocal validation of our claims for the past several years. The Chinese government’s systematic and inhuman campaign of forced indoctrination and arbitrary detention amounts to nothing less than genocide and a crime against humanity. My sister Gulshan Abbas is a victim of this brutal regime, and her detention is an illegal act that demands immediate redress. The false accusations against her, a retired physician, demonstrate the Chinese government’s complete disregard for human rights and the rule of law. The world must not stand idly by while the Chinese government continues to commit these atrocities. We call upon the international community to take urgent and decisive action to pressure China to release all arbitrarily detained Uyghurs, including my sister Gulshan Abbas.”
Bahram Sintash, son of Qurban Mamut, reissued his demand that the Chinese government immediately release his father without any conditions and allow him to return home to live out the remainder of his life with his wife in peace. “The Chinese government must be held accountable for its actions and must respect the fundamental human rights of all individuals, including those of the Uyghur community. I call on the UN working group to use all available means to exert pressure on the Chinese government to act with urgency and compassion, and to ensure that my father and all other unjustly detained Uyghurs are immediately released. The international community must stand together to put an end to these atrocities and bring justice to the victims of these heinous crimes,” Sintash said.
In addition to demanding the immediate release of Mr. Mamut, Mr. Asat, Ms. Abbas, and all arbitrarily detained people, CFU demands that the Chinese regime allow the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to conduct an unfettered visit to East Turkistan. We urge the international community to take swift and decisive action to hold the Chinese government accountable for their genocide and crimes against humanity and to put an end to the ongoing human rights abuses being committed against Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan.
The Working Group has referred the case to the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the Special Rapporteur on minority issues, and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief for further consideration. In support of the human rights of the Uyghur and other Turkic communities oppressed by China, CFU remains vigilant and committed to closely monitoring the developments of this case. We will continue to shine a spotlight on the ongoing human rights abuses being committed by the Chinese government and advocate for justice and accountability for all those affected.
The full opinion of the UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concerning Qurban Mamut, Ekpar Asat, and Gulshan Abbas can be accessed here.