The Transnational Oppression of Uyghur Chinese
Growing paranoia over terrorism by and radicalization of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority has led to the dramatic expansion of state surveillance activities in Xinjiang—where Uyghurs account for nearly half of the population—and abroad. Digital surveillance, travel restrictions, indefinite detention, “reeducation” camps, and the exploitation of intra-community and transnational relationships have dramatically expanded the crackdown on ethnic minorities perceived as threats to the integrity of the state. After fleeing China, Uyghur emigrants find themselves and their families (some of whom remain in China) subject to harassment by Chinese security forces in places as far flung as Istanbul and Washington, D.C. BuzzFeed News and The Globe and Mail have profiled a number of Uyghur Chinese in exile and the oppressive conditions they and their families face, including high levels of distrust and fear of advocacy.
“Spy For Us — Or Never Speak To Your Family Again” (BuzzFeed News | July 2018)
“How China is targeting its Uyghur ethnic minority abroad” (The Globe and Mail | October 2017)
“‘It is about Xi as the leader of the world’: Former detainees recount abuse in Chinese re-education centres” (The Globe and Mail | July 2018)
“One in 10 Uyghur Residents of Xinjiang Township Jailed or Detained in ‘Re-Education Camp’” (Radio Free Asia | June 2018)
Uyghur Human Rights Project
Azerbaijan launches offensive against LGBT citizens
- Dozens were arrested and charged with “resisting police orders” in September according to community activists in the country.
- A state spokesman denied the raids targeted sexual minorities but rather those who “show a lack of respect”, “annoy citizens,” and whom authorities believe to be carriers of infectious diseases.
- The government has framed targeting the LGBT community as protecting community health and defending the “traditional” and “moral” values of Azerbaijan against Western attack, tying the LGBT community to Western encroachment.
“Outcry as Azerbaijan police launch crackdown on LGBT community” (The Guardian | October 2017)
“Azerbaijan: Scale of LGBT Persecution Is Rising – Lawyer” (EurasiaNet | September 2017)
“Gay men and trans women were suddenly rounded up in Azerbaijan. Here’s why.” (The Washington Post | October 2017)
Raising the Voices of the Visually Impaired in Armenia
As the Internet has created new channels for the inclusion of marginalized communities, people with disabilities in particular have looked to the technology as a chance to discover and create new, accessible labor and creative opportunities. In Armenia, government agencies and international NGOs have worked together to promote information literacy and use among blind and visually impaired Armenians. One new program, Radio MENQ, has bridged the technical with the creative, offering blind and visually impaired people the chance to work as presenters and sound technicians for an internet radio station focused on issues and interests of relevance to the visually impaired community. Global Voices sat down with two of the project’s leaders to discuss the history and future of Radio MENQ and how opportunities like the station help combat pervasive unemployment and marginalization in the community.
“How is Online Radio Helping to Empower Visually Impaired People in Armenia?” (Global Voices)
(Image Credit: via Global Voices)
Outrage erupts over proposed bill in Turkey to clear adults married to minors of sexual abuse charges
- The bill, approved after an initial reading and set for a second vote, would allow for the indefinite suspension of sentencing for sex “without force, threat, or any other restriction on consent” if the perpetrator marries the victim.
- Women’s rights, children’s rights, and other advocates were swift to condemn the proposed bill, which they argue effectively condones statutory rape and child marriage.
- Child marriage is illegal in Turkey, but non-civil religious marriages proliferate, particularly in the southeast of the country.
“Turkish ruling party sparks uproar with sexual abuse bill” (Reuters)
“Turkish bill to clear men of child sex assault if they marry their victims” (AFP via The Guardian)
“Turkey: Thousands protest against proposed child sex law” (BBC)
(Image Credit: Sedat Suna/EPA, via The Guardian)
Turkey halts activities of 370 NGOs as “purge” continues
- Following the failed coup attempt of July 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has banned the activities of hundreds of organizations, including human rights and children’s organizations, arrested opposition lawmakers, and shuttered more than 100 media organizations on charges of collusion with terrorists.
- Of the suspended, 153 were allegedly connected to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen (whom Erdogan has accused of masterminding the coup), 190 with Kurdish militant group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), 19 to far-left militant group DHKP-C, and 8 to the Islamic State.
- More than 100,000 in the military, police, political administration, journalism, and academia have lost their jobs and tens of thousands have been arrested, prompting condemnation from human rights monitors and warnings from foreign governments.
“Turkey halts activities of 370 groups as purge widens” (Reuters)
“Erdogan Renews Putsch Purge With Targets in Media, Academia” (Bloomberg)
“Erdogan’s ‘One-Man Regime’ Sacks 10,000, Closes Kurdish Media” (teleSUR English)
Gay Syrian refugee decapitated, body found in Istanbul
- Muhammed Wisam Sankari’s violently mutilated body was found in the Yenikapi neighborhood of Istanbul on July 25, two days after he left his house in Aksaray.
- Friends reported that Sankari had feared for his safety and that police and other officials had been slow to respond to concerns.
- Sankari had also reportedly been raped in the months before his death and had been attempting to gain refugee status for resettlement outside of Turkey.
“Syrian gay refugee killed in Istanbul” (Kaos GL)
“Missing gay Syrian refugee found beheaded in Istanbul” (The Guardian)
“Gay Syrian man beheaded and mutilated in Turkey” (BBC)
(Image Credit: via Kaos GL)
Largest Yazidi temple in world in plans to be built in Armenia
- Funded by a Moscow-based Yazidi businessman, the temple (Quba Mere Diwane, or “All Will Come Together”) is set to be built in the village of Aknalich, near the Armenian capital of Yerevan.
- Though set to be the physically largest, the most theologically sacred temple will continue to be Lalesh, a pilgrimage site located north of Mosul in northern Iraq.
- Yazidis are one of the largest ethnic minority groups in Armenia, with their community expanding as the global diaspora has ballooned in the wake of systematic persecution by the Islamic State.
“Armenia to House World’s Largest Yazidi Temple” (EurasiaNet)
“World’s largest Yazidi temple under construction in Armenia” (The Guardian)
“Largest Yazidi Temple to Be Built in Armenia” (The Armenian Weekly)
(Image Credit: Maxim Edwards via The Guardian)