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Human rights aren’t negotiable

Uiguren Roundtable

"Human rights aren’t negotiable - the fate of the Uyghurs in light of the EU-China Investment Agreement”. This is the title of a round table hosted by the EDP that will be held this Friday, 11 June, 1pm-2.30pm (CET).

The discussion will be moderated by our German MEP Engin Eroglu (Freie Wähler) who is a member of the ECON committee as well as the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET). He has long been vocal about the human rights violations happening in Xinjiang against the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority who live in the autonomous region.

In December last year, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on forced labour and the situation of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region which had been tabled by several political groups, including Renew Europe. They strongly condemned the government-led system of forced labour, particularly the exploitation of Uyghur, Kazakh, and Kyrgyz minorities, and other Muslim groups in factories within and outside internment camps in Xinjiang as well as the fact that well-known European companies benefit from this labour. Parliament called on the Chinese government to immediately end detention without charge, trial or criminal conviction of Uighurs and members of other Muslim minorities; to close all camps and detention centres and release detainees without delay or conditions; and to cease government-sponsored forced labour and mass sterilisation. Sanctions have also been put in place.

However, since then, not much has happened. Uyghurs are still being detained and “re-educated” in camps in Xinjiang. China has also hit back with its own sanctions, even targeting individual MEPs who spoke out about human rights violations happening in the autonomous province.

The EU-China Investment Agreement, which would open the Chinese market to European companies, was agreed in principle on 30 December 2020. However, due to the situation in Xinjiang, it has since been suspended.

Friday’s event will start with an introductory speech by Frederic Petit, the EDP's Deputy Secretary General, and consist of a discussion with fellow politicians Michael Brand (CDU), Dr. Daniela De Ridder (SPD) and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Greens), as well as Dr. Adrian Zenz (social anthropologist) and Qelbinur Sidik, a witness.

You can follow the event on Facebook , Twitter or Youtube (streaming exclusively in German).