ICC urged to investigate China’s treatment of Uyghurs

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A group of lawyers has urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslim populations in the Xinjiang region.

The United States and other countries accuse China of subjecting these groups to genocide and crimes against humanity, including mass arbitrary detention, forced labor, torture, forced sterilization, separation of children from their parents and the destruction of minority culture. Beijing vehemently denies all accusations of human rights abuses in the region and says all ethnic groups in Xinjiang live happily ever after.

The lawyers, who represent Uyghurs in exile, said they presented to the ICC on Monday new evidence of Beijing’s efforts “to round up Uyghurs in neighboring countries, including an ICC member state, and elsewhere, to force them to return” to China.

“It also shows very sadly what happens to them once they return to the detention camps,” lead attorney Rodney Dixon said in a statement sent to VOA. “The ICC has jurisdiction over these crimes that begin in ICC territory and continue in China, and are urged to act immediately to open an investigation.”

This is the third evidence package submitted to the ICC by the legal team since it first filed a complaint two years ago.

This complaint was filed on June 6, 2020. Additional evidence was filed on July 10, 2021; November 2021; and last Monday, according to the legal team.

After the first presentation of evidence, ICC prosecutors said the court was unable to take up the case because the alleged abuses occurred in China, which is not a member state of the ICC.

According to lawyers, the latest evidence submission to the ICC includes ‘first-hand evidence from a witness’ who was deported to China, held in internment camps and subjected to ‘interrogation and torture’ before escaping from China in 2018.

“This shows that the Chinese government is implementing a policy of rounding up Uyghurs and other ethnically Turkish people from outside China, including ICC member states such as neighboring Tajikistan, and deporting them. of force to China,” the legal team said in a statement. at VOA.

Lawyers want ICC to follow precedent set when it investigated cross-border crimes committed by non-member state Myanmar after thousands of Rohingya were forced to flee to ICC member state Bangladesh .

“The seriousness of the mass deportations and disappearances was rightly recognized by the ICC prosecutor when he stated that his office will collect evidence of sending Ukrainians to Russia – in the same way such evidence should be collected and reviewed by the ICC for Uyghurs and others forced into China from ICC territories,” Dixon said.

Other Uighur witnesses who fled Tajikistan to Turkey in 2018 described how China pressured police and immigration officials in Tajikistan to deport Uighurs to China.

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