Rebiya Kadeer, the spiritual mother of the Uyghur people, issues a statement about the UN Human Rights Council’s failure to debate China’s treatment of Uyghurs. Here is the full text of her statement:
“While the 19 votes speak for the present reality,the 17 votes represent hope for the future.”
The proposal to discuss the Uyghur issue at the UNHuman Rights Council meeting was rejected by a vote of 19-17. Based on the 19 votes against the proposal, China’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, declared the vote a victory for China. While he claimed this victory against Uyghur activists, who are considered national enemies in China, Uyghur activists do not consider the vote a failure because we did not pay for the 17 votes in favor of the proposal. We did not pressure or put a yoke on any country. Those 17 votes resulted from facts and truth.
This difference in votes is likely to be a failure in terms of the global human rights movement and the influence of the West on the international stage. However, for Uyghur activists, it is a victory to be able to knock on the door of the UN Human Rights Council.
China has tried its best to prevent the Uyghur issue from being raised at the UN for several years and even repeatedly had Uyghur activists expelled from UN meetings. Uyghur students abroad were sent back, and Uyghur citizens in East Turkistan were banned from obtaining passports. All these actions aimed to block the Uyghur issue from reaching the threshold of the UN.
However, despite the proposal not being adopted, the Uyghur situation is now on the agenda of the international arena. We took one step forward.
Hua Chunying also called this vote “the victory of developing countries over the West and America.” This statement is incorrect. It is developing countries following a murderous country out of necessity. It is a countermeasure for countries like Cuba, and Venezuela that want to hide their human rights issues. Even if there are 1,000 Cubans, 1,000 Pakistanis, and 1000 Venezuelans who follow China for profit, it is enough to have one Lithuanian, one Frenchman, or one Czech Republican standing behind us for the sake of justice. This is our pride, strength, and hope!
According to Hua Chunying, this vote is a victory of justice over injustice, but in reality, it is a victory of deceit and violence over truth. This is a transitory victory because China is waging war not only against Uyghurs but also against humanity and God through genocide.
The proposal’s rejection is not a consequence outside our estimation. Therefore, we are not swayed from our paths and goals.
Six years ago, when we said that China imprisoned over million Uyghurs, the world did not believe it. Two years later, Gay McDougall, a member of the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, cited estimates that 2 million Uighurs and Muslim minorities were forced into “political camps for indoctrination” in the Uyghur region.
In 2020, when 39 Western countries issued a statement criticizing China’s Uyghur policy, 65 countries signed a statement against it. However, after the UN Uyghur Report, that number dropped from 65 to 21.
As a people who have been oppressed by Chinese rule for 70 years, we fully understand the Chinese threat, which is why we believe that those who voted in support of China today will one day not only be ashamed but will also regret their vote and will be punished by history.
In 1997, when Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright first raised the Uyghur issue at the UN, she began by saying, “There is a people called Uyghur in China.” Clearly, whether we existed required an explanation. Today, the issue of whether or not there is an Uyghur genocide is about to be discussed. Over the past 30 years, China has accelerated its plan to exterminate Uyghurs to the level of genocide, and Uyghur activists have brought the Uyghur cause to the UN Human Rights Council’s threshold. This is the beginning of our victory. We do not doubt that while the score was 19-17 today, it will be 1-46 someday because the 19 voices against the proposal shed light on the evil reality of the world today, while the 17 voices in favor showed the noble nature of humanity and revealed our prospects.
Of course, from this result, we have a deeper understanding of the world, including our neighbors and “brothers”.
Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the countries and people of the 17 representatives who voted for us on behalf of more than 3 million Uyghur captives who have been in prisons and camps for 6 years.
By Rabiye Qadir,
Leader of the Uyghur National Movement