Several British parliamentarians wrote a letter to the Home secretary to demand that Uighur Muslims fleeing China be able to find asylum in the United Kingdom and be automatically granted refugee status.
According to the Guardian, Uighurs wishing to enter the United Kingdom must prove that they are susceptible to abuse in their home country.
The letter addressed to Home Secretary Priti Patel, written by the Liberal Democrats and signed by 44 MPs and colleagues from the Conservative Party, Labour Party, Scottish National Party, and the Green Party, asked the government to “specifically commit to automatically granting refugee status to all Uighur people fleeing religious persecution from the Chinese state.”
Over the years, the persecution of the Uighur ethnic group by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been widely documented, mainly through the exposure of massive detention camps where prisoners are locked up, indoctrinated, and punished. The CCP argues that these are re-education camps aimed at preventing terrorism.
According to the human rights magazine Bitter Winter, the CCP classifies as “terrorism” all forms of criticism against the Party and all political activities that claim independence, or real autonomy for the region.
Rahima Mahmut, head of the UK office of the World Uighur Congress, said, “Growing evidence coming out of Xinjiang (East Turkestan) indicates that a genocide could be taking place against the Uighur people.”
“The UK must be at the forefront of efforts to help Uighurs fleeing religious persecution and should automatically grant all Uighur asylum seekers refugee status given the risks that they face,” she added.
Human rights groups estimate that approximately 3 million Uighurs are being held in concentration camps in the Xinjiang region. Reports have documented the miserable conditions in which they live and how they are forced to renounce their religion in exchange for not being tortured.
Other reports have revealed how the CCP forces ethnic Muslim women to be sterilized or use contraceptive devices in an attempt to reduce the Uighur population.
According to Bitter Winter, the Uighur detention camps are the worst human rights disaster carried out by the CCP after the large-scale persecution against practitioners of the spiritual discipline known as Falun Gong from 1999 to the present, which has been condemned by governments such as the United States.
Alistair Carmichael, foreign affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats said, “Uighur people seeking refuge in the UK should not have to prove their case—the evidence is now in plain sight. The home secretary must take steps to grant automatically refugee status to all Uighur people fleeing this brutal crackdown on their rights.”
As the Guardian pointed out, Sweden announced last year that it would give refugee status to all Uighur asylum seekers from China, so many other countries have begun to follow suit.