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UAA/UHRP
23-12-04, 20:03
http://www.uhrp.org/press_releases/uaa_and_uhrp_call_on_kyrgyzstan_to_respect_uyghurs _rights

UAA/UHRP Press Release Condemning Kyrgyzstan's violation of Uyghur civil liberties

For Immediate Release
December 22, 2004
Contact: Meagan Landry, (202) 349-1494

Washington – The Uyghur American Association (UAA) and Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) join the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) in calling on the Kyrgyz authorities to respect the human rights of the Uyghur citizens of Kyrgyzstan.

The Kyrgyz Committee for Human Rights (www.kchr.org) reports that the although Ittipak, a preeminent, legally registered Uyghur organization in Kyrgyzstan, planned to hold an event in commemoration of its 15th anniversary, it was denied permission to do so three days in advance of the event by the Kyrgyz Secretary of State, Osmonakun Ibraimov.

By refusing to allow Ittipak to conduct a lawful cultural event, the Kyrgyz government is once again illegally denying Kyrgyz citizens’ constitutional rights to free speech and assembly.

The Kyrgyz government’s intolerance of opposition and persecution of Uyghurs exemplifies its regression from its former position as a bastion of democracy in Central Asia to a repressive, authoritarian regime in recent years.

According to Nury Turkel, President of the Uyghur American Association and Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project, “Kyrgyz authorities are not only failing to observe international norms but also illegally violating citizens’ rights to freedom of assembly and speech.”

Secretary Ibraimov reportedly denied permission to hold the event at the Kyrgyz National Academic Drama Theater because he felt that Rozmuhamet Abdulbakiev, Chairman of Ittipak, “complicated the relations between China and Kyrgyzstan” in his interview with a local paper, and because Ibraimov assumed that every Uyghur believes in the creation of an East Turkestan state.

“It’s very disappointing to witness President Akayev, who was once praised as the Thomas Jefferson of Central Asia, consolidating sovereignty of his nation with the unfair manipulation of Chinese influence,” Turkel says.

He goes on to say, “This is yet another example of China's expansionism in Central Asia and continual interference in the internal affairs of its neighboring countries.”

As a nation that aspires to become democratic, Kyrgyzstan should not suppress the legitimate activities of Uyghur organizations that promote Uyghur culture due to China's political pressure. This is contrary to the democratic aspirations of the people of Kyrgyzstan and contradicts the government’s stated goal of consolidating the new democracy.

The Kyrgyz government not only disregards international criticism and calls to improve the human rights situation, but is also violating international law by repatriating Uyghur dissidents back to China knowing that the dissidents will face harsh treatment and likely execution.

“It isn’t difficult to imagine the consequences these actions, which so blatantly disregard the value of human life,” says Turkel.

According to an IRIN interview of Tursun Islam, leader of the Kyrgyz Human Rights Group Democracy, the Kyrgyz government has extradited Mamat Yasin, Mamat Sadyk, Jalil Turdi and Bajvachcha to China, where they were subsequently executed, and China is now actively seeking the extradition of Jalal Kasarji, who will likely also be executed.

China, which stands in glaring defiance of international human rights norms and democratic values, is not only depriving Uyghur people’s fundamental rights but also restricting the freedom of citizens of other nations by pressuring governments throughout Central Asia to deny the constitutional rights of their Uyghur citizens.

Now is the time for Akeyev government to resist Chinese pressure and respond to the legitimate demand by the international communities and owns citizens to respect their constitutional rights. UAA and UHRP urge the Kyrgyz authorities to respect the human rights of all the people in Kyrgyzstan, including the Uyghurs.