Uyghur Activists Allege Rape and Forced Sterilisation by China, Call for Support on Women's Day

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Female Uyghur activists, as part of World Uyghur Congress, have written an open letter to raise awareness about the treatment meted out by the Chinese authorities that includes alleged rape, forced sterilisation and abortion.

“Uyghur and Turkic women are currently facing some of the most egregious crimes carried out by Chinese State actors, including arbitrary detention, torture, rape, forced sterilisation and abortion,” reads the letter.

The letter also states that Uyghur and Turkic women are forced to marry Han Chinese men. “Mothers are forcibly separated from their children, who are often placed in Chinese state-run orphanages, in spite of the fact that their parents are alive,” added the letter.

ANI, in August last year, reported that China was advertising marriage to Uyghur women and girls to attract men into the Xinjiang or East Turkistan region.

“According to the Chinese state media, Communist Party cadres are incentivized by the government to move into Uyghur homes under a “double relatives” program to monitor and supervise the family. For most Uyghur women, whose husbands are in concentration camps or in prisons, this creates a humiliating environment where women are subject to sexual abuse,” the letter reads.

Meanwhile, Campaign For Uyghurs (CFU) has also joined hands with World Uyghur Congress.

CFU’s Executive Director Rushan Abbas wrote a piece for BitterWinter magazine last year entitled “Uyghur Women Persecuted: Will the Feminists Support Them?”. In the article, she wrote: “Uyghur women, who have chosen to speak up for their loved ones and their people, and these efforts have been punished and largely ignored. Where are the Muslim sisters and brothers? Where are the Hollywood icons who proclaim themselves to be advocates for human rights? Where are the feminists? This war on the Uyghurs is brutally carried out as a war on women also.”

Last Sunday, a pro-Tibet group named Global Alliance For Tibet and Persecuted Minorities (GMPM) held a panel discussionto highlight ongoing human right abuses where writer and activist Tsering Pasaang introduced the panellists and highlighted the atrocities committed by the Chinese administration against Uyghurs.

Tsering urged the international community to hold China accountable and assured that his organisation will go all the way to ensure that questions on human rights violations do not go unanswered.

Rayhima Mehmut, UK Director of World Uyghur Congress, explained how she was forced to leave her country (East Turkistan) due to her activism and how her brother and other Uyghur families are almost under house arrest or surveillance.

She explained how the Chinese are torturing the Uyghurs in concentration camps with women subjected to rapes, gang rape, forced labour, violation of religious rights and utilizing them for organ harvesting.

The final paragraph of the letter written by World Uyghur Congress reads, “On the occasion of the 2021 International Women’s Day, we call on international women’s institutions as well as our feminist allies from across the world to speak out against the CCP’s brutal repression of Uyghur and Turkic women.”