Uyghur detainees
Uyghur detainees listening to a 'de-radicalization' speech at a re-education camp in Hotan prefecture's Lop county. (Photo: Prachatai/Creative Commons)

The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC (JCRC/AJC), Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and European Union of Jewish Students will host “Uyghurs in Crisis: The Jewish Response” at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22.

The Uyghurs, a Muslim-majority Turkic people are facing deplorable human rights abuses at the hands of the Chinese government. Their plight has garnered the attention of religious and human rights organizations across the globe, including within the Jewish community. The Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC (JCRC/AJC), Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and European Union of Jewish Students will host “Uyghurs in Crisis: The Jewish Response” at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 22.

Approximately 11 million Uyghurs live in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, which has been under China’s control since 1949 and is known to the Uyghur people as East Turkistan. Due to their Muslim faith, more than 1 million Uyghurs have been interned in hundreds of “re-education centers” within the region since 2017.

Likened to concentration camps due to the reported abusive acts taking place there, as well as the presence of watch towers, prison-like gates, armed guards and more, they are purportedly operated outside the Chinese legal system. The country’s government has long denied the camps existence, although there are images showing their construction.

“As Jews, we know first-hand what happens when a government aims to extinguish a people – both culturally and physically. We also know what happens when the world sits idly by,” said Rabbi Asher Lopatin, Executive Director, Jewish Community Relations Council/AJC in a press release. “It is our moral responsibility to stand up for the Uyghur people and join with others of good conscience around the world to end this systematic human rights violation being committed on a vast scale.”

The program is slated to include testimony from a Uyghur camp survivor; one-on-one discussion with a Uyghur activist; and remarks from UHRP and former United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein. The event will culminate with an overview of the advocacy landscape and how the Jewish community can get involved.

There is no cost to attend, although registration is required at https://bit.ly/3n7XNCz. Questions? Contact englender@jfmd.org.

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