Post Tagged with: "Sakharov Prize"
Sakharov Prize: Jailed Uighur academic Ilham Tohti wins award
BBC News 24 October 2019 An academic jailed for separatism in China has been awarded the European Parliament’s top human rights prize. Ilham Tohti, who is from the Uighur minority, has been a fierce critic of China’s treatment of the Uighur people. He was jailed for life in 2014. More than a million Uighurs and other ethnic minorities are reported to have been held in camps in China’s restive Xinjiang region. Mr Tohti, seen by many as a moderate voice, has denied being a separatist. Although still in jail, Mr Tohti, 49, has been recognised for drawing attention to ethnic tensions in Xinjiang. A ceremony awarding him the Sakharov Prize in his absence will be held in Strasbourg in December. The Uighur geography teacher who vanished in China The vanished Uighurs of Xinjiang China’s Muslim ‘crackdown’ explained China had accused him of separatism and stoking ethnic tensions. The economics scholar’s imprisonment provoked condemnation from human rights groups, with the UN, the EU and US calling for his release. The EU Parliament said Mr Tohti deserved the Sakharov Prize for his attempts to “foster dialogue” between Chinese people and the Uighur. “The parliament calls on the Chinese authorities to release him immediately,” EU Parliament President David Sassoli said. The Sakharov Prize for free speech is awarded by the EU Parliament annually in memory of Soviet physicist and dissident Andrei Sakharov. Other nominees for the 2019 prize included Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny, prominent Brazilian gay rights activist Jean Wyllys and the Restorers, a group of student app developers from Kenya. Previous winners have included Pakistani schoolgirl and campaigner Malala Yousafzai (2013), Cuban dissident Guillermo Farinas (2010) and two Yazidi women who escaped Islamic State (2016). Who is Ilham Tohti? Born in the city of Artush in Xinjiang, Mr Tohti is an […]
Sakharov Prize: daughter of 2019 laureate Ilham Tohti receives prize on his behalf
EU affairs Updated: 19-12-2019 Jewher Ilham (left) receiving the award from Parliament President David Sassoli Ilham Tohti’s daughter Jewher Ilham accepted the 2019 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought on 18 December on behalf of her jailed father. Ilham Tohti, a Uyghur scholar fighting for the rights of China’s Muslim Uyghur minority, has been in jail since 2014 on separatism-related charges. Presenting the award, Parlimaent President David Sassoli said: “Ilham Tohti, with his activism, managed to give a voice to the Uyghurs. […] He has been working for 20 years to promote dialogue and mutual understanding between them and other Chinese people. “Today should be a moment of joy, to celebrate freedom of speech. Instead, it is a day of sadness. Once again, this chair is empty, because in the world we are living, exercising our freedom of thought does not always mean being free.” Accepting the award during the ceremony in Strasbourg, Jewher Ilham said: “It is an honour to be at the European Parliament today to accept the Sakharov Prize on behalf of my father. I am grateful for the opportunity to tell his story, because he cannot tell it himself. To be honest with you, I do not know where my father is. 2017 was the last time my family received word about him. “Today, there is no freedom for Uyghurs in China… Not at school, not in public, not even in private homes. My father, like most Uyghurs, has been labelled a violent extremist, with a disease that needs to be cured and a mind that needs to be washed.. It is under this false label of extremism that the government has put one million people – probably more – into ‘concentration camps’ where Uyghurs are forced to give up their religion, language and culture, […]