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With New NGO, Malaysians Show Support For Uyghurs

With New NGO, Malaysians Show Support For Uyghurs

UMRO aims to create awareness about the Uyghur cause and raise charity funds.

Fernando Fong

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Malaysians and Uyghurs have set up a new non-governmental organisation (NGO) to help create awareness about alleged human rights violations in China.

The Uyghur – Malaysia Relations Organisation (UMRO) is set up by the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (ABIM) and the International Union of East Turkistan Organizations (IUETO).

There have been reports of human rights abuses and cultural suppression against the Uyghur population in Xinjiang (East Turkestan), a region in northwest China.

Delegates and guests at the soft launch of UMRO in Kuala Lumpur. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

ABIM president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz said the Chinese government had been accused of detaining up to a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities.

They are allegedly detained in “re-education” camps and subjected to political indoctrination, forced labour, and torture.

There have also been reports of mass surveillance, restrictions on religious and cultural practices, and forced sterilization and birth control measures.

ABIM president Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz criticizing the treatment of Uyghurs as a violation of basic human rights.

Muhammad Faisal expressed regret that the Chinese government has defended these actions as necessary for combating terrorism and extremism in the region.

ABIM vice president Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsudin speaking at the soft launch of UMRO. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

IUETO president Hidayet Oguzhan said funds from the UMRO initiative would go towards Uyghur-based initiatives to create awareness among the Malaysian public on the Uyghur issue.

UMRO aims to create an understanding of the Uyghurs in China who face daily unimaginable challenges and human rights violations.

IUETO president Hidayet Oguzhan (left) speaking to a representative from Muhammadiyah, a major Islamic NGO in Indonesia. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

Oguzhan reminded Malaysians the situation in Xinjiang had sparked international condemnation.

It also led to calls for investigations and action to hold the Chinese government accountable for its treatment of Uyghurs.

At the same time, he noted that the Malaysian government had not taken an official stance on the situation of the Uyghurs in China.

Australian Uyghur leader Nurmuhammad Majid (right) speaking at the soft launch of UMRO. (Pix: Fernando Fong)

However, there has been an outpouring of moral support by individuals and civil society organizations in Malaysia, such as ABIM, expressing concern about the human rights violations against the Uyghurs in China.

Malaysia has also provided asylum to Uyghur refugees who have fled China, citing persecution.

We understand Malaysia has also sought to maintain good relations with China, which is a major trading partner and investor in the country. On the other hand, Malaysia is a Muslim-majority country. Many Malaysians feel a sense of solidarity with the Uyghurs, who are also Muslims.

 IUETO president Hidayet Oguzhan on Malaysia helping the Uyghurs.

Oguzhan added that Malaysia has a history of championing human rights and has often spoken out against human rights abuses worldwide.

Also present at the soft launch were local politicians, including PKR assemblyman for Meru, Mohd Fakhrulrazi Mohd Mokhtar.

Mohd Fakhrulrazi said the Malaysian parliament should debate a motion on Uyghur abuses in Xinjiang.

He said it is only right for Malaysia to voice the alleged restrictions on freedom, the mass internments, the programmes of mass sterilisation, and the enforced labour of the Uyghurs.

Who Are Uyghurs In China?

Uyghurs are a minority ethnic group that primarily lives in Xinjiang, an autonomous region in China.

Some Uyghurs have migrated to Malaysia and other countries in Southeast Asia to seek asylum and better living conditions.

In Malaysia, Uyghurs can be found in various cities, including Kuala Lumpur and Penang.

READ MORE: Malaysia Has No Opinion On Uyghurs In China, Abstains From UN Vote

They often work in small businesses, such as restaurants or retail stores.

Many Uyghurs in Malaysia have also been involved in activism, protesting against the Chinese government’s treatment of their ethnic group.

It’s important to note that the situation of Uyghurs in Malaysia is not uniform.

There may be different reasons why Uyghurs have chosen to move to Malaysia or how they live there.

READ MORE: Food As The Common Ground: The Connection Between Malaysia And Uyghurs Through Gastro Diplomacy [Opinion]

READ MORE: Ministers, MPs, NGOs And Universities Express Support For Uyghurs, Call For Closer Collaboration

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