Two Uighur organizations filed a complaint against China in the International Criminal Court alleging crimes against humanity and repression of minorities.
The International Criminal Court complaint represents the first time Uighur minorities have attempted to hold the Chinese government accountable for repression policies, according to NBC News.
Uighurs are a minority group of Muslim Turkic ethnicity numbering 11 million who mainly live in China’s Xinjiang region.
“I didn’t see, but I could hear the unbearable screams coming from both sides of the corridor,” said Mamattursun Omer, an Uighur whose account of being detained in Xinjiang is one of many included in the ICC complaint.
“They should be punished for the crime they have done to us,” he told NBC News. “It is my responsibility to give my testimony.”
The complaint specifically alleges that China enforced birth control, carried out mass surveillance and committed massacres against the Uighur population in the Xinjiang region.
The Associated Press detailed China’s practice of forced birth control in Xinjiang in a July report that referred to the policies as “demographic genocide.”
Hundreds of internal Chinese government files were leaked in 2019 and published by The New York Times, exposing China’s Xinjiang mass incarceration policies.
The U.S. Department of State imposed sanctions on multiple Chinese Communist Party officials in July over the government’s alleged mistreatment of Uighurs.
It specifically condemned “forced labor, arbitrary mass detention, and forced population control, and attempts to erase their culture and Muslim faith.”
“The United States is taking action today against the horrific and systematic abuses in Xinjiang and calls on all nations who share our concerns about the CCP’s attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms to join us in condemning this behavior,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
China’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, repeatedly denied allegations of Uighur repression in a July interview with the BBC.
“There is no so-called restriction of the population. There is no so-called forced abortion and so on,” Liu told BBC anchor Andrew Marr.
Liu added that the Uighur population has doubled. However, Xinjiang government statistics show the population has actually plummeted, according to the AP.
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