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Erasing the Uyghurs

Dolkun Isa began alerting the international community about China’s oppression of his people group five years ago. The president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress is from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. By 2016, members of the Uyghur diaspora could no longer contact family members in Xinjiang: Authorities had sent many of them to reeducation camps and detention centers without trial or evidence of any crimes.

Isa’s advocacy also made his family a target: In 2018, he learned through Radio Free Asia reporters that his mother died in a camp. In 2020, state-run Global Times mentioned in an article attacking Isa that his father had also died. He doesn’t know when or how they died, or where their bodies are buried. In May, he received another blow: Authorities sentenced his brother to life in prison.

Isa sought ways to bring China to justice. But the International Criminal Court announced in December it would not investigate because China had not signed the Rome Statute, putting it outside the court’s jurisdiction. And China’s veto power on the UN Security Council means the body won’t recommend the case to the International Court of Justice.

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