Jewish leaders in London have urged Downing Street to take the Chinese government to task over the “dire” treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.
The Board of Deputies’ vice-president Edwin Shuker implored the Government’s special envoy for religious freedoms to use Britain’s standing at the United Nations to put a stop to the systemic oppression of up to two million people.
Hundreds of thousands have been forced into indoctrination camps, detained for having beards, wearing veils or using the internet. Uyghur leaders say hundreds of mosques have been destroyed and copies of the Quran have been burned.
This week Shuker wrote to Rehman Chishti MP, the Government’s special envoy for freedom of religion or belief, who did not attend the Board’s event at Parliament last month, highlighting how the treatment of the Uyghurs was “a warning for humanity”.
After reports of Uyghur Muslims being thrown into Chinese detention camps for having beards, we have written to @10DowningStreet's Special Envoy on Religious Freedom @Rehman_Chishti urging the UK Government to take decisive action. This follows our event with @UyghurCongress. https://t.co/tcuQVsJXh4 pic.twitter.com/A73buanBw0
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) February 18, 2020
Last month one of Britain’s most senior rabbis said the situation amounted to systematic and deliberate demonisation of an entire people” and in his letter Shuker said the “re-education” camps had been likened to concentration camps.
“We would like to ask that the Government use its position at the UN to raise these matters on the international stage, and with the Chinese government,” he wrote.
“Please let me know what steps the Government will be taking in response to our request, so that we can share your response with our Uyghur community partners.”