DUBAI: A Uighur activist, whose father was jailed by the Chinese government, appealed to European lawmakers to “work towards a solution” on Wednesday, amid growing backlash of China’s treatment of the Muslim minority group.
Jewher Ilham was receiving the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought award on behalf her father, Ilham Tothi, an Uighur intellectual who is currently held in an “undisclosed location” in China.
In her speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Ilham urged politicians, academics and students to protest against the treatment of the Uighurs in the western region of Xinjiang, where reports of “concentration camps” subjecting Muslims into “torture” have been made.
Ilham’s father was jailed for life in China in 2014 on separatism charges that were widely denounced by the West.
After the prize was announced in October, China said he was “a criminal who was sentenced in accordance with the law by a Chinese court,” and urged that “all sides respect China’s internal affairs and judicial sovereignty and not inflate the arrogance of terrorists.”
China has said Xinjiang is under threat from militants and separatists. It denies mistreatment or mass internment, saying it is simply seeking to end extremism and violence through education.