PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
East Turkistan Government in Exile
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1 February 2022
ISTANBUL – The East Turkistan Government in Exile acting in unison with several NGOs in Turkey and the victims from East Turkistan, urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday to launch an investigation into the genocide and other crimes against humanity being committed by Chinese officials against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan.
Lawyers for the East Turkistan Government in Exile and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement filed a formal legal complaint to the ICC on 6 July 2020. The complaint asked the ICC to investigate and prosecute Chinese officials for genocide and other crimes against humanity committed against Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan. The legal team was in Istanbul to collect further evidence and testimony from victims and survivors in the Uyghur diaspora community of Istanbul.
The East Turkistan Government in Exile, Human Rights Watch Association of East Turkistan, the Association of Turkic World Solidarity and Cooperation, a legal team led by British lawyer Rodney Dixon QC as well as the Uyghur diaspora residing in Turkiye held a news conference at a hotel in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul.
Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile sent a video message urging the Turkish Government, civil society, and the Turkish people to support the plight of East Turkistan and its people.
“We urge Turkey to support East Turkistan’s case at the ICC and we humbly request the Republic of Turkey to uphold its commitments to defending the oppressed by filing a parallel case against China at the International Court of Justice,” said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar. “It is important that Turkey’s Government and Parliament stand up to China by recognizing China’s ongoing genocide in East Turkistan as a genocide,” he added.
Turkish lawyer Gulden Sonmez, who is heading East Turkistanis legal complaint against China at the Istanbul Court of Justice, also urged Turkey’s Government to act and come to the aid of East Turkistan. She also urged Turkey to release Uyghurs who are being held in immigration detention centers across Turkey, as well as helping Uyghurs like Idris Hasan, who has been extrajudicially detained upon arrival in Morocco since July 2021.
Halit Kanak, the head of the Association of Turkic World Solidarity and Cooperation, said the group urges the ICC to investigate China which will host the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing beginning later this week.
British Lawyer Rodney QC said available evidence suggests that the number of Uyghurs deported from China’s neighbor, Tajikistan, rose sharply from 2016 to 2018, and their population residing there declined by 85%.
“The evidence submitted to the ICC collected through an in-depth field investigation in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan confirm this,” he said.
Rodney Dixon QC also said if an investigation is launched, it would be the first of its kind in Central Asia. He also stated that the fourth dossier of evidence was planned to be submitted weeks ahead.