Uyghur Times, Berlin, September 5, 2023 A pivotal development took place on Tuesday, September 5, as the World Uyghur Congress, in partnership with key members of the German Bundestag, inaugurated the Uyghur Parliamentary Group. The Group’s leadership includes Chairman MP Peter Heidt (FDP), Vice Chairs MP Derya Türk-Nachbaur (SPD), MP Boris Mijatović (The Greens), MP Michael Brand (CDU/CSU), represented by MP Norbert Altenkamp (CDU/CSU), and MP Ulrich Lechte (FDP).
The launch event was marked by a vibrant celebration of Uyghur culture and successfully brought together members of the Bundestag and the Uyghur diaspora.
Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress, stressed the profound significance of this move, saying, “The Uyghur Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag is of special symbolism for the Uyghurs. Since the 1990s, Uyghur activists fleeing increasing repressive measures by the Chinese government have found a new home in Germany. Today, Germany is the center of the Uyghur exile community and home to the umbrella organization World Uyghur Congress.”
The Chinese government’s systematic persecution of Uyghurs through the “Strike Hard Campaign” since 2014 has triggered international outrage. This campaign restricts the expression of Uyghurs’ cultural and religious beliefs and subjects them to imprisonment in numerous concentration camps and prisons in East Turkistan. These actions have led to horrifying consequences, including estimates of up to 3 million Uyghurs subjected to torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and forced labor in these camps. The Uyghur community also faces coercive birth control policies, family separation, mass surveillance, and the destruction of cultural and religious sites. The gravity of these human rights violations has led experts to classify them as genocide or crimes against humanity.
Bundestag member and chairman of the newly-formed parliamentary group, Peter Heidt, emphasized their commitment, stating, “We must do everything we can to ensure that the people of Xinjiang can live in freedom.” Vice Chair Derya Türk-Nachbaur echoed this sentiment, saying, “The injustice that is being done to the Uyghur minorities cannot go uncommented.”
Notably, the global economy is tainted by the state-imposed forced labor of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) on the Uyghur people, including the supply chains of prominent German companies like Volkswagen. Research conducted by Sheffield Hallam University has exposed several VW suppliers implicated in these forced labor programs. Volkswagen’s contentious plant in East Turkistan, situated near internment camps, continues to raise concerns.
Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Group Boris Mijatovic underscored the importance of upholding human rights standards across the board, asserting that politicians must demand accountability not only from the Chinese government but also from German companies like VW and the cotton industry.
The establishment of the Uyghur Parliamentary Group within the German Bundestag stands as a critical step in condemning the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government against the Uyghurs and other Turkic communities in East Turkistan. This initiative aligns with similar efforts by seven other global friendship groups that are dedicated to addressing the Uyghur genocide within their respective national parliaments.
MP Norbert Altenkamp emphasized that this parliamentary circle transcends political affiliations, uniting parliamentarians from various parties in their shared commitment to confronting these pressing issues.