The below article was published by The Print, photo credit: REUTERS/DILARA SENKAYA
Brussels [Belgium], September 17 (ANI): A total of 38 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have co-signed a letter to Karim Khan KC, International Criminal Court prosecutor urging him to open an investigation into crimes committed by Chinese officials against Uyghur and Turkic peoples, said the East Turkistan Government in Exile.
Uyghurs are being targeted and rounded up from countries like Tajikistan and brought back to China where they face atrocities such as forced labour, torture and forced sterilization. The ICC has jurisdiction to investigate because these crimes started in ICC territory, like Tajikistan, and continue into China, the East Turkistan Government in Exile said.
The MEPs have sent the letter following the recent report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, which concluded that these acts “may constitute crimes against humanity.”
The UN High Commissioner’s report was met with a mixed response – the Chinese government has said that the report was “based on defamation and lies” and that they will no longer cooperate with the UN on it; whereas others, including many MEPs, believed the report was not strong enough.
The MEPs’ letter references an initial Article 15 Complaint, filed by representatives of the East Turkistan Government in Exile, the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, and all Uyghur victims in July 2020.
Since then, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) has received three further submissions of compelling evidence of Chinese atrocities against the Uyghur people. The letter highlights this evidence, which includes first-hand testimony that Uyghurs are being targeted and rounded up in ICC member states, for example, Tajikistan, and then they are forcibly deported back to East Turkistan (“Xinjiang”).
Indeed, the letter reveals that at least 90 pc of Uyghurs living in Tajikistan have been either physically or emotionally coerced back to China by Chinese officials. Once in China, they are never heard from again and, as numerous reports have shown, they are subjected to appalling cruelties and ill-treatment.
This includes brutal interrogations and torture; forced labour; and forced medical procedures. The Uyghurs are, therefore, as found by the MEPs, at serious risk of genocide. Although China is not itself an ICC member state, the evidence shows that crimes are being committed by Chinese officials within ICC state territory, such as Tajikistan and therefore the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate the whole crime, it added.
The MEPs write, “It is becoming increasingly difficult and irresponsible for those of us in elected positions to ignore this evidence… We hope that you will open this investigation urgently to pursue justice for the countless victims and deter further atrocities being committed against Uyghurs.”
“We welcome the EU Members of Parliament letter urging the International Criminal Court to swiftly launch an investigation into China’s ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in Occupied East Turkistan,” said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile.
“We call on other governments, parliaments, and international organizations to follow suit as time is running out for Uyghurs and China must be held accountable before it is too late,” he added. (ANI)