Human rights for the Uyghurs (emergency motion to Labour conference)

The following emergency motion was submitted to Labour Party conference by Finchley and Golders Green CLP. The Conference Arrangements Committee has said it is likely to be debated the afternoon of Monday 23 September. The Clarion strongly urges delegates to support this motion.

Emergency motion: Human Rights for the Uyghurs

Conference notes that on 15 September 2019 Human Rights Watch released evidence of China separating Uyghur children in Xinjiang region from their families and called on China to “ immediately release to their families children held in “child welfare” institutions and boarding schools in Xinjiang”.

Conference further notes that on 14 September 2019 The Washington Post reported on an urgent campaign by Amnesty International to halt the feared imminent execution of Tashpolat Teyip, an ethnic Uyghur professor of geography and president of Xinjiang University from 2010 until 2017, who was forcibly disappeared by the Chinese Authorities in 2017 and then convicted in what Amnesty International has called a secret and grossly unfair trial.

These cases are just a small part of a systematic campaign of terror by the Chinese state against the Uyghurs and other people of Turkic and Muslim heritage in Xinjiang region, northwest China.

Conference condemns the litany of human rights abuses perpetrated by China on the Uyghur people and other Muslim/Turkic heritage minorities including:

  • mass internment of more than a million (and possibly as many as three million) people in concentration camps
  • the extensive use of torture and coercion in the camps
  • the regime of extreme, intrusive, suffocating surveillance in operation in Xinjiang, including the enforced imposition of Han Chinese state agents as house guests in Uyghur households
  • the tyrannical restrictions on linguistic, religious and cultural freedom including arresting men who grow a beard considered too long and women who wear a veil, the banning of fasting during Ramadan, and the strict curtailment on speaking the Uyghur language in public spaces
  • the separation on a mass scale of Uyghur children from their families
  • the specific targeting of leading Uyghur academic, cultural and entertainment figures
  • the clear and disturbing attempt by the Chinese authorities to forcibly eliminate Uyghur cultural, religious and linguistic heritage and expression.

Conference calls on the Chinese government to allow unfettered access for foreign journalists and international human rights organisations to Xinjiang region and allow properly independent investigation of the internment camps.

Conference commits the Labour Party to stand proudly and unequivocally with the Uyghur people against oppression and persecution by the Chinese State and to raise the plight of the Uyghur people on the global stage at every possible opportunity.

Labour will promote this cause throughout our movement and will support and mobilise for protests and demonstrations in support of the human rights of the Uyghurs and other minority peoples in Xinjiang.

Labour in government will be true to the words of its 2017 manifesto to place “human rights at the heart of foreign policy” and will bring all possible pressure to bear on the Chinese government to close the mass detention facilities, release those imprisoned in them, end the maximum-surveillance police state in Xinjiang, and respect the human rights of the Uyghur people including the freedom for linguistic, cultural and religious expression.

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