The World Uyghur Congress has been nominated by parliamentarians from Canada and Norway for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize for its contributions to human rights and shedding light on Chinese repression of the Uyghur people in the far western region of Xinjiang.
It’s the first time the Germany-based group has been nominated for the prestigious prize.
China has faced intensifying international criticism for treatment of the 11 million predominantly Muslim Uyghur people, whose culture, language, religion, dress and food is distinct from those of the Han Chinese majority.
The United Nations’ human rights office issued a damning report in August that highlighted widespread arbitrary detentions and other actions by China that it said may constitute crimes against humanity.
China has also taken steps to try to eradicate Uyghur culture and assimilate Uyghurs into China.
The United States, the European Parliament and the legislatures of several other Western countries have declared that the abuses, including the arbitrary detention of an estimated 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities, constitute genocide and crimes against humanity.
The World Uyghur Congress has “made a crucial contribution in drawing international attention to the overwhelming campaign of physical, religious, linguistic, and cultural repression currently being waged by the Chinese Communist Party against the Uyghur and other Turkic people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, a campaign that many parliamentarians define as genocide,” wrote Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, a Canadian member of parliament, in the nomination letter.
Brunelle-Duceppe joined fellow Canadian parliamentarian Sameer Zuberi, who is chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, and Ane Breivik, leader of the Liberal Party of Norway, in nominating WUC.
WUC President Dolkun Isa said it was a great honor for his organization to be nominated.
“This is despite China’s incessant demonization to conflate our peaceful international advocacy for Uyghur rights with terrorism and separatism,” he told Radio Free Asia. “Through decades-long global efforts to demonize the WUC, China has attempted to put roadblocks to our advocacy work, silence our voice in the world, thus continuing its ongoing crimes against the Uyghur people unabated.”
Isa said the nomination shows that China’s attempts to suppress Uyghur advocacy by defamation, diplomatic attacks and political manipulation has failed.
“This also shows that the international community led by the Western democracies is convinced by our advocacy work,” he said. “The fact is no matter how strong China might be, justice and truth shall eventually prevail.”
More than a dozen individuals and about 10 other organizations have already been nominated for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.
The winner of the international peace prize will be announced in October 2023 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo and awarded on Dec. 10.
Translated by RFA Uyghur. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.
This content originally appeared on Radio Free Asia and was authored by By Kurban Niyaz and Alim Seytoff for RFA Uyghur.