As Beijing Olympics approach, Uyghur groups plan to take human rights case before Argentinian court

by Anne Kader

Image: Pexels / Unsplash


Michael Polak, a British lawyer representing the World Uyghur Congress and the Uyghur Human Rights Project, is preparing ‘a universal jurisdiction criminal complaint’ to submit to the criminal courts of Argentina in February, Polak said in a tweet.


Chinas treatment of Uyghurs could come to courts in Argentina around the same time that the Winter Olympics open on Feb. 4 in Beijing.


Last week Uyghur Tribunal, a people’s court in London, passed a judgment on Chinas human rights abuses against the Uyghur people. The court concluded that the Chinese government committed genocide and crimes against humanity.


The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is also planning on releasing a report on human rights in ‘Xinjiang’.


Argentina has earlier agreed to hear a case against the Myanmar military and their treatment of the Rohingya, under the principle of universal jurisdiction. The aim would be to bring the accused before the Argentinian courts, where they would have to answer the allegations.


China has arbitrarily interned more than one million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. China described the facilities as vocational training and education centers. 


The U.S. government and parliaments in Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Canada have declared that Chinas policies against the Uyghurs amount to genocide and crimes against humanity.


Polak said he expects Beijing to use political leverage and financial pressure against Argentina to stop the court case. The court first has to agree to hear the case. If it declines, one can submit an appeal.


‘Everywhere we have taken the Uyghur case around the world, China tries to step in and stop it from happening,’ Polak said in an interview published on CBC News site. “What we’ve seen of the Argentinian courts and their decisions, we think the courts are independent and will look at this and look at the evidence properly.”

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