The onus is on the international community to act collectively to find justice for Uyghurs subjected to widespread and systematic persecution in Xinjiang.  

There are no credible legal avenues in China for investigating and obtaining redress for human rights violations.

Not even the most courageous human rights lawyers could assist a Uyghur to bring a case against arbitrary detention or ill-treatment. The courts would never accept such a case and they lack independence. The lawyers themselves face the risk of detention and torture if they tried.

Domestic Chinese NGOs are muzzled or fearful.

Government control over the media and Internet deny Chinese people the right to receive information.

On 22 July 2020, Nicola Macbean, Director, The Rights Practice, spoke at an online panel event to launch a new high-level briefing paper by the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC). The event was hosted by the BHRC, the All Party Parliamentary Human Rights Group and the APPG on Uyghurs. The report outlines practical measures that governments, and the UK Government in particular, should urgently consider to seek to bring an end to any on-going violations of international law towards Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.

These steps include creating and applying Magnitsky-style sanctions on individuals; actively supporting the establishment of an impartial and independent United Nations mechanism; using and enforcing domestic avenues of accountability, including corporate accountability relating to supply chains; and using international mechanisms such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

In July 2020, The Rights Practice submitted a briefing note to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), focused on China’s follow-up response to the Committee’s review in 2018. China does not address the Committee’s concern that individuals are being detained in Xinjiang without due process and in facilities which are not legally established for the deprivation of liberty. China does not provide a persuasive legal justification for the education and training centres as places of detention. 

The recent growing awareness and concern in UK Parliament, civil society and media is welcome, but this must be turned into action.