Protect the Rights of Uyghur People in China

Heidi Hautala addressed a conference entitled ‘Dialogue with China – Implementation of the Chinese Constitution to Safeguard and Protect the Rights of the Uyghur People’ at the European Parliament on 29‐30 April.

[:]The conference was convened by Niccolò Rinaldi MEP and organised in collaboration with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO).


Below, please find a statement by Ms Hautala;


Dear colleagues,

The Members of the Subcommittee on Human Rights follows the issues concerning the human rights, the protection of minorities and the promotion of democratic values in third countries. We believe the that human rights are universal and the dignity of the individual must be respected worldwide according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 10 December 1948.

The issue of human rights in the People’s Republic of China are the integral part of the ongoing EU China dialogue.

In 2008, the Parliament took up a new position over repression in Tibet and the 2008 Sakharov Award for Freedom of Thought to Mr Hu Jia, the human rights activist, was a reminder of the consensus in Parliament on this matter.

It was on 1 September 2009 when the Members of the Subcommittee of Human Rights discussed the issue of human and minority rights with Mrs Rebiya Kadeer, President of the World Uyghur Congress.

The Members made clear that although the European Parliament cannot resolve the internal regional and ethnic problems of China, it does have the right to point out that such delicate and complex issues cannot be resolved by violence or repression.

In November 2009 the European Parliament passed a resolution in which it calls for an end to the death penalty in China and expresses concern at the way in which ethnic minorities are treated before the law in China.
The resolution called on the Chinese authorities to make every effort to develop a genuine Han-Uighur dialogue, to adopt more inclusive and comprehensive economic policies in your region aimed at strengthening local ownership, and to protect the cultural identity of the Uighur population.
The resolution reiterated its solidarity with all the victims of the events in Urumqi in July 2009, while recognizing the duty of the State institutions to maintain public order. It also expressed concern over reports alleging that disproportionate force was used against ethnic Uyghurs and that large numbers of them were detained.
The resolution further called on the Chinese authorities to ensure that those detained in connection with the above events are guaranteed humane treatment while in custody and fair trials in accordance with international law, including access to a lawyer of their choosing, presumption of innocence and proportionate sentencing of those found guilty.

We believe that the way forward lies in dialogue between the authorities in the People’s Republic of China and the Uyghur and Tibetan minorities. There is no other peaceful alternative to the cycle of repression and violence which serves no-one’s’ interest.