Date: July 10, 2023
TOKYO – The upcoming “International Uyghur Forum: Global Parliamentarian Convention” is set to take place on October 30-31, 2023, at the National Diet of Japan (House of Representatives Building). The conference, organized by the Japan Uyghur Parliamentary League, the Parliamentary League for Investigating and Taking Action on Human Rights Violations by China, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), the Japan Uyghur Association (JUA), and the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), aims to bring together parliamentarians from around the world who are actively engaged in combating the Uyghur Genocide and supporting Uyghurs worldwide.
The convention will primarily focus on international responses to the Uyghur genocide, including severe human rights violations such as racial discrimination, physical and psychological torture, forced labor, and cross-border persecution. Its key objective is to promote collaboration among parliamentarians from different countries and devise strategies to address the current challenges and overcome them. Furthermore, the conference will also address the erosion of democratic systems in Hong Kong, military tensions near Taiwan, and China’s impact on peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
This convention comes one year after the release of the report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, which declared that the human rights abuses against Uyghurs constitute crimes against humanity. As of June 2023, eleven parliaments and senates (Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Parliament), along with the U.S. government, have officially recognized the crimes committed against Uyghurs as genocide and/or crimes against humanity. The Global Parliamentarian Convention is a culmination of the intensified global efforts to garner political support, based on extensive documentation and findings on the Uyghur situation, initiated by the UK Independent Uyghur Tribunal’s judgment in 2021, which determined that genocide and crimes against humanity were being perpetrated against Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan.
Simultaneously, a growing number of NGOs have raised concerns about the high risk of Uyghur forced labor in global supply chains, leading to this issue being prioritized on the G7 leaders’ agenda, including Japan, which has shown strong support. Japan, being the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to publicly condemn and acknowledge the ongoing atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups, has set an example for the world. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe played a pivotal role in establishing the Uyghur Parliamentary Group in the Japanese Diet, subsequently inspiring the formation of Uyghur Parliamentary Groups in several other countries. Furthermore, following Abe’s initiative, a bipartisan “Parliamentary Alliance to Investigate and Act on Human Rights Violations by China,” chaired by Keiji Furuya, a member of the House of Representatives, was launched last year, with its members expected to play an active role.
The International Uyghur Forum aims to provide a platform for parliamentarians, high-level government officials, and individuals involved in Uyghur Friendship Groups to collaborate and formulate concrete actions to halt the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Turkic populations amid an increasingly complex security environment. The convention will also be open to key political, academic, and civil society figures. Uyghur leaders, witnesses, camp survivors, and activists from the global Uyghur diaspora will attend alongside high-level lawmakers, government officials, scholars, journalists, international institutions, and civil society actors from across the globe. The event will facilitate discussions on strategies to advance the Uyghur cause, exchange best practices, foster collaboration, and, most importantly, build a network of support.
The International Uyghur Forum: Global Parliamentarian Convention serves as a significant milestone in the global efforts to address the Uyghur genocide and bring justice to the affected Uyghur community.