Justice Sought For Missing
China is asked to explain thousands of cases of disappeared Uyghurs.
An exile group called on China Thursday to account for thousands of
ethnic Uyghurs believed to be victims of enforced or involuntary
disappearances in the country s northwestern Xinjiang region.
Beijing is systematically using the tactic of enforced disappearances
to silence Uyghurs who voice opposition to Beijing s policies in the
region, the exile World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said in a statement
marking the U.N. s International Day of the Victims of Enforced
Many Uyghurs have attempted to uncover the whereabouts, condition, and
fate of their forcibly disappeared loved ones, but continually find
their requests for information being rejected or ignored, WUC President
Rebiya Kadeer said.
She has estimated 10,000 Uyghurs have been forcibly disappeared since
deadly violence rocked the Xinjiang region in July 2009 following
long-simmering tensions between Han Chinese and Uyghurs.
Kadeer said the Chinese authorities have ignored requests for
information about the missing, creating a stubborn culture of impunity.
China should provide reparations to the victims of the deeply
concerning practice, the WUC said.
The practice of forced disappearances, which has also been used against
other groups in China, will effectively be legalized under upcoming
amendments to China s Criminal Procedure Law, human rights groups say.
Some of these amendments, notably Article 73 [of the revised law], will
in effect legalize the already widespread of enforced disappearances of
Uyghurs, Kadeer said.
The article, which governs residential surveillance, sets out
provisions allowing authorities to hold individuals under effective
house arrest in their homes or at a designated abode.
The amendments, passed by the National People s Council in March 2012,
could have drastic consequences for Uyghurs when they take effect next
year, the WUC said.
But even if the practice is effectively made legal under China s laws,
it is still a clear breach of international rights law, the group said.
China has not signed the International Convention for the Protection of
All Persons from Enforced Disappearances (ICCPED), which explicitly bans
the practice, but it is a signatory of the International Convention on
Civil and Political Rights, which contains similar provisions.
China has not ratified nor shown any interest in signing this vital
human rights treaty which enshrines into international law the accepted
standards states should adopt in regards to preventing such a human
rights violation, the WUC said.
It urged the international community to press China to ratify the
ICCPED, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 2006 and went
into force in 2010, is designed as an international instrument to
prevent governments from carrying out forced disappearances.
The International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances is
marked to honor the missing victims and to highlight the seriousness of
It is an act that negates the very essence of humanity and is contrary
to the deepest values of any society, a group of independent United
Nations experts said in a statement Thursday.
Reported by Rachel Vandenbrink.
Copyright 1998-2011 Radio Free Asia. All rights reserved.