Uighur leader urges G20 pressure to end China ‘genocide’

Uyghur human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, center, speaks during a rally against the Chinese government in Osaka, Japan. Osaka is hosting the G-20 Summit. (AP Photo)
Updated 28 June 2019
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Uighur leader urges G20 pressure to end China ‘genocide’

  • Rebiya Kadeer said strong world pressure was essential to free an estimated one million people, mostly ethnic Uighurs, held in internment camps in western China
  • Chinese officials describe the camps as voluntary vocational education centers where Turkic-speaking Uighurs receive job training

OSAKA, Japan: An exiled advocate for China’s ethnic Uighur minority Friday urged world leaders gathered in Japan for the G20 summit to confront Chinese President Xi Jinping over the “genocide” of her Muslim people.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the Osaka meeting, Rebiya Kadeer said strong world pressure was essential to free an estimated one million people, mostly ethnic Uighurs, held in internment camps in western China.
“(The) entire Uighur people are facing (an) existential threat, and its real and urgent,” Kadeer, the 72-year-old head of the World Uyghur Congress, said through an interpreter.
Chinese officials describe the camps as voluntary “vocational education centers” where Turkic-speaking Uighurs receive job training.
But rights groups and former inmates describe them as “concentration camps” where Uighurs and other minorities are being forcefully assimilated into China majority ethnic Han society.
Kadeer said Uighur culture could vanish if “strong actions” are not taken by China’s trading partners.
“I call (on) European countries who are economically dependent on China to wake up and stand up against Chinese genocide of Uighurs and take practical actions immediately.”
More than 100 demonstrators later gathered in Osaka to protest against the camps, as well as moves in Hong Kong to diminish the Chinese city’s unique freedoms.
Kadeer’s presence in Osaka will no doubt anger China, which labels her a dangerous separatist and has previously condemned Japan for allowing her entry.
Kadeer extended her thanks to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the summit’s host, for resisting Beijing’s pressure.
Xinjiang is a remote, resource-rich region bordering on central Asia that has long seethed with sporadic violence over Uighur allegations of Chinese repression.
Kadeer was a successful Xinjiang businesswoman hailed in the 1990s by China as proof that its policies were good for the country’s many ethnic minorities.
But she fell out with authorities and was jailed six years after complaining about Uighur repression.
She was released and went abroad in 2005, settling in the United States and becoming leader of the World Uyghur Congress, which advocates respect for Uighur culture.
China accuses her of instigating deadly Uighur rioting in Xinjiang in 2009 that killed at least 197 people, according to state media.
She strongly denies the charge.


Dutch court cuts state’s liability for Srebrenica deaths

In this Wednesday, March 20, 2019 file photo, a woman prays at the Potocari memorial center for victims of the Srebrenica genocide, in Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (AP)
Updated 11 min 53 sec ago
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Dutch court cuts state’s liability for Srebrenica deaths

  • The 350 were among the almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the genocide at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II

THE HAGUE: The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday slashed the state’s liability for 350 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, saying peacekeepers had only a “slim” chance of preventing their deaths.
The 350 men were among 5,000 terrified residents who had sought safety in the Dutch peacekeepers’ base when the besieged Muslim enclave was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.
The lightly armed Dutch troops eventually became overwhelmed and shut the gates to new arrivals before allowing Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic to evacuate the refugees.
The men and boys were separated and taken in buses to their deaths, their bodies dumped in mass graves.
Judges, however, on Friday reduced from 30 percent to 10 percent the Dutch state’s responsibility for compensation to the families in a case brought by the Mothers of Srebrenica victims’ organization.
The 350 were among the almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the genocide at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II and the darkest episode in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
“The Dutch State bears very limited liability in the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’ case,” the Supreme Court said. “That liability is limited to 10 percent of the damages suffered by the surviving relatives of approximately 350 victims.”

After the ruling, Mothers’ president Munira Subasic, who lost family members including her son, husband and father in the massacre, expressed disappointment.
“Today we experienced humiliation upon humiliation. We could not even hear the judgment in our own language because we were not given a translator,” she told AFP.
At Srebrenica “every life was taken away 100 percent. There is little we can do with 10 percent, but yes, the responsibility still lies where it does.”
“I only have two bones. I have found less than 10 percent of his body,” she added, referring to her teenage son.
The Dutch government accepted responsibility, saying it was relieved that “finally there was some clarity.”
A Dutch court originally held the state liable for compensation in 2014. In 2017 the appeals court upheld that decision before it was referred to the Supreme Court.
The lower court had said in 2017 that the Dutch actions meant the Muslims were “denied a 30 percent chance of avoiding abuse and execution,” and thus the Dutch state was liable for 30 percent of damages owed to families.
The Supreme Court agreed that “the state did act wrongfully in relation to the evacuation of the 5,000 refugees” in the compound, including 350 Muslim men the Bosnian Serbs were unaware of.
It said the Dutch peacekeepers “failed to offer these 350 male refugees the choice to stay where they were, even though that would have been possible.”
But explaining the decision to reduce the liability, the Supreme Court said that “the chance that the male refugees would have escaped the Bosnian Serbs had they been given the choice to stay was slim, but not negligible.”
Reacting to the ruling, Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said in a statement the cabinet would “examine how to best implement the liability for damages suffered by the relatives in such a way it does justice to the Supreme Court ruling.”

In a swipe at the failure of other foreign powers to act during the 1995 crisis, the top court added that the “chance of Dutchbat (the Dutch UN mission) receiving effective support from the international community was slim.”
Former Dutchbat soldiers attending the case said they were disappointed on behalf of the victims’ families.
“I think the final judgment is a bit disappointing, especially when you see the court ruling of 30 percent and now it’s downgraded to 10 percent,” said Remko de Bruijne, a former Dutch blue helmet who served at Srebrenica.
“I think that’s not fair for the Mothers of Srebrenica but, on the other hand, now it’s clear,” he told AFP.
Srebrenica has cast a long shadow over The Netherlands, forcing a the government to resign in 2002 after a scathing report on the role of politicians in the episode.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is currently serving a life sentence in jail in The Hague after being convicted of genocide over Srebrenica and war crimes throughout the 1990s.
Ex-military chief Mladic, 76, dubbed the “Butcher of Bosnia,” is currently appealing a life sentence on similar charges at an international tribunal in The Hague.
Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic’s long-time patron during the war, was on trial in The Hague at the time of his death in 2006.