Hon. Member of the Parliament
On behalf of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, and concerned citizens in Canada, we cordially invite you to be a part of the Parliamentary Uyghur Friendship Group (UFG). As China’s Genocide of Uyghurs continues—along with the anger caused around the world due to its hostage diplomacy with Canada—Canadians are convinced that Beijing will not hesitate to use its might in coercing its will onto others.
The recently leaked internal Chinese government documents, which include the Operating Manuals for the Mass Internment and Surveillance systems, a comprehensive logbook and more than 400 pages of other internal papers—including speeches from top officials—provide an inside look at the implementation of genocidal measures against Uyghurs in East Turkistan. This region has been referred to by China as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region since 1955.
A classified Chinese government document suggests that there may be up to 1,400 extrajudicial internment facilities in total, excluding prisons, with capacities ranging up to more than 30,000 detainees. In its latest White Paper, the Government of China acknowledged that between 2014 and 2019, a yearly average of 1.29 million people in the region have gone through “Vocational Training,” which is a term used to describe its concentration camps.
Various report documents show that Uyghurs are subjected to severe physical and mental torture in the camps, as well as forced labour on a wider scale. China’s government destroyed mosques, shrines, and graveyards. They banned the Uyghur language, separated families from their children, and created a digital Gulag to eradicate Uyghur identity.
There is an urgent need to have frequent dialogue for adopting a bipartisan strategy that will safeguard the interests of Canada and Uyghurs in the wake of growing CCP clout and intimidation.
Uyghur Friendship Group aims to fill this gap with its mission to provide broader insight to better understand China and its global expansionist ambition.
Co-chaired by the Hon. Garnett Genuis, the Parliamentary Uyghur Friendship Group (PUFG) was established on February 28th, 2020.
Role of the Group
The Parliamentary Uyghur Friendship Group (UFG) will serve as an informal network of Canadian Parliament and Senate members coming from different political groups to address the challenges facing Uyghurs in East Turkistan and Canada. Through its activities, the UFG will highlight the rich culture and tradition of the Uyghur community as an important element of their identity. UFG is an open forum where MPs, Senators, Representatives of other Canadian institutions, non-governmental organizations and the Uyghur community can meet and exchange ideas.
Building on the long-term interest and support of the Canadian Parliament for the Uyghur Community, the group will contribute to maintaining the Uyghur Human Rights issue high on the agenda within the Canadian parliament and beyond. It will closely monitor the challenges that the Uyghur community face and reflect on different ways to address them. The group will aim at promoting greater knowledge and better understanding of the Uyghur Culture, Uyghur identity and their democratic endeavors. It will particularly focus on the situation of Uyghurs’ human rights tragedy in East Turkistan, addressing minority rights, freedom of religion, freedom of movement, and the right to education in their mother tongue, while also focusing on their rich cultural heritage. This implies advocacy for the fundamental human rights of the Uyghur community in line with international standards as enshrined throughout the International Human Rights Conventions.
Working Method and Action
Members of this group will meet on a bimonthly basis in Ottawa at the Parliament Hill, or virtually. In addition, the group will arrange seminars, conferences, public discussions, and hearings, while also liaising with academics specialized in the subject as well as policy makers, experts and members of the Uyghur diaspora organizations and NGO representatives.
The group will organize cultural events, exchanges and exhibitions related to Uyghur culture. The group will collect and disseminate relevant information which is up to date through its channels. In addition, it will articulate innovative and pragmatic approaches in addressing the challenges at hand.
The group will regularly invite the members of Canadian institutions to its meetings, submit written and oral questions, prepare reports and share their outcomes with relevant stakeholders. The group aims at keeping the Canadian public informed about its activities and events through press releases, reports, and newsletters, all of which will be accessible via a variety of websites.
Mehmet Tohti, Executive Director
Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project