EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: International Uyghur Forum- Global Parliamentarian Convention

EVENT ANNOUNCEMENT: International Uyghur Forum- Global Parliamentarian Convention

The “International Uyghur Forum: Global Parliamentarian Convention” will be held on October 30-31, 2023, at the National Diet of Japan (House of Representatives Building). The conference is 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 Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC). It aims to bring together parliamentarians from various countries who are working on the Uyghur Genocide and supporting Uyghurs worldwide.

The conference will focus on international responses to the Uyghur genocide and heinous human rights violations such as racial discrimination, physical and psychological torture, forced labor, and cross-border persecution. It seeks to promote cooperation among parliamentarians from different countries and discuss strategies to address the current challenges and overcome them. Additionally, the conference will also address the erosion of democratic systems in Hong Kong, military tensions in the vicinity of Taiwan, and China’s threat to peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. 

The Convention will take place one year after the release of the report (August 2022) on Uyghurs by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, stipulating 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) and one government (U.S.) have officially recognized the crimes committed against Uyghurs as genocide and/or crimes against humanity. The Convention is, therefore, the result of the global intensified efforts to galvanize political support based on several years of extensive documentary efforts on the situation of Uyghurs that was first set in motion through the judgment of the UK Independent Uyghur Tribunal in 2021, concluding that genocide and crimes against humanity were being committed against Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan.

At the same time, a growing number of NGOs have also been raising the high risk of Uyghur forced labour in global supply chains, making this a priority on the agenda of the G7 leaders, including Japan, which showed strong support. Japan is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to publicly condemn and acknowledge the ongoing atrocities against Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups. 

Thanks to the efforts of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Uyghur Parliamentary Group was established in the Japanese Diet, setting an example for the world and leading to the establishment of Uyghur Parliamentary Groups in many other countries. In addition, following the will of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who directly raised the Uyghur Genocide with Chinese leaders and urged them to improve, 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 at the end of last year, and its members are expected to play an active role. 

Through the Convention, we aim to provide a platform for parliamentarians and high-level government officials, such as those engaged with Uyghur Friendship Groups, to liaise and work together to formulate more concrete actions to stop the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Turkic population amidst an increasingly complex security environment. The Convention will also be open to key political, academic, and civil society actors. Uyghur leaders, witnesses, camp survivors and activists from the global Uyghur diaspora will also attend, joining high-level lawmakers, government officials, scholars, journalists, international institutions and civil society actors from around the world to discuss strategies for advancing the Uyghur issue, exchange best practices, foster collaboration, and, most importantly, network.