A Jewish News appeal to MPs to turn up the pressure on China over the plight of its Uighur Muslims this week received the backing of senior fi gures across the community.
The letter was organised in partnership with World Uighur Congress, human rights charity René Cassin and Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani.
Around one million Muslims are believed to be detained in camps in Xinjiang, a region in the country’s northwest, according to human rights activists.
Rights groups have accused China of abuses including forced labour and sterilisation.
But Chinese authorities deny any mistreatment of the Uighur and other Muslim minority groups, saying the detention camps o er vocational training.
As part of the appeal, an open letter will be sent to MPs when they return next month, carrying more than 20 signatures from Reform, Masorti and Liberal rabbis, senior community leaders and charity executives.
Signed by Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer, Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl and United Synagogue president Michael Goldstein, it calls on MPs to push for an independent investigations into alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang.
It also petitions MPs to push for sanctions on “state and non-state perpetrators” and for the proscription of all companies and individuals “facilitating these atrocities.”
Signatories also include Union of Jewish Students president James Harris, Jewish Care chief executive o cer Daniel Carmel-Brown, B’nai B’rith UK president Alan Miller and Mitzvah Day founder and chair Laura Marks.
Other backers are Dr Edie Friedman, executive director of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, and Marc Cave, chief executive of the National Holocaust Centre in Nottingham.
The letter says: “After the ratification of the Genocide Convention the words ‘never again’ were a common political refrain.
“We have an urgent moral obligation to give meaning to these words. If we fail to act now, we will have shown them to be empty.”
It describes alleged abuses as “a crime of unimaginable violence and demands us all to respond, as individuals, countries and as an international community”.
“For the Jewish community, some of the reports emerging from the region bring terrifying echoes of the Holocaust,” it reads.
Earlier this month, the Chinese embassy criticised the contents of another letter, signed by senior faith leaders, demanding “justice” for China’s minority community population.
The contents of the letter were “sheer rumour and smear. We strongly deplore and oppose it”, a spokesperson for the embassy told Jewish News.
“The so-called genocide and forced sterilisation is nothing but a lie,” the spokesperson added, alongside a lengthy rejection of claims made about Xinjiang.