Imagine one day, you don’t hear from your husband, or your child. That day turns into a year, a year turns into five years. And still nothing. In Australia and around the world, this is the reality that Uyghurs know all too well.
In June 2021, Amnesty released a report on crimes against humanity in Xinjiang. The report documented a “dystopian hellscape” where the Chinese government has detained over one million people.
Among those detained are people like Mirzat, an Australian permanent resident, who was about to fly to Australia with his wife when police turned up at their door. He has since been sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Mahira, who was detained after transferring money to her parents in Australia so they could buy a house.
Muherrem, who returned to China with her two children to renew her passport. Her passport was confiscated, and her husband hasn’t heard from her or their children since.
And Buzainafu, who has been sentenced to seven years in prison in a secret trial. She hasn’t spoken to her Australian husband since 2017.
In Australia, the families of those detained have done everything they can. They’ve spoken to the media, they’ve met with politicians, they’ve petitioned the Chinese government to release their relatives.
Sadly, they still have not heard from their families. They do not know where they are. They do not know if they’re safe.
They do know that they won’t stop until their family members are released, and they need people like you to stand with them.
Soon, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet will visit Xinjiang. The Chinese government will want to show the High Commissioner, and the world, that Uyghurs in Xinjiang are free.
We have a rare opportunity to pressure the Chinese government ahead of the High Commissioner’s visit. Recently, Amnesty International has learned that at least two detainees whose families we’ve worked with have been released. At least seven others were allowed to call their family.