It is alleged that the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”) has and continues to perpetrate the most serious of international crimes against the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in the Uyghur region of North West China.
In June 2020 Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress formally requested that Sir Geoffrey Nice QC establish and chair an independent people’s tribunal to investigate ‘ongoing atrocities and possible Genocide’ against the Uyghur people. The Uyghur Tribunal (“Tribunal”) was launched on 3 September 2020 with assistance from a non-governmental organisation, the Coalition for Genocide Response.
The Tribunal will act wholly independently although it will continue to benefit from evidence provided by a range of organisations.
Since launch the Tribunal has attracted significant press and other interest reflective of the gravity of the issue.
The Uyghurs are a predominantly Turkic Muslim group and in the Uyghur region are estimated to number upwards of twelve million people.
It has been widely reported that the PRC is detaining a significant proportion of the Uyghur population in camps which the PRC says are “vocational training centres” or “re-education centres” but are widely alleged to be involuntary detention centres which some have likened to “concentration camps”.
There have been numerous other allegations of the PRC subjecting the Uyghurs to killings, serious bodily or mental harm including torture, rape and other sexual violence, enslavement, forced separation of children from their parents, forced sterilisation, forcible transfer or deportation, apartheid, forced labour, forced organ harvesting, enforced disappearances, destruction of cultural or religious heritage, persecution, forced marriages and the imposition of Han Chinese men into Uyghur households.
If proved, some of these allegations could lead to the conclusion that the PRC has embarked on a campaign intended to destroy, in whole or in part, the Uyghur people and their existence as a religious, racial, national and ethnic group. Such a finding would constitute the commission of Genocide as defined in Article 2 of the Convention of 1948 to which the PRC is a signatory and ratifying state. Acts arising from or incidental to the prohibited acts of Genocide, may also in themselves constitute crimes against humanity.