Notre Dame Law School (NDLS) announced Tuesday that it had filed a brief in support of an international criminal complaint against China for the “genocide” of Uyghurs, according to a press release.
Human rights organizations have estimated at least 1 million Uyghurs, Turkish Muslims residing in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, have been detained, tortured and even forcefully sterilized by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to the BBC. NDLS’ Religious Liberty Initiative announced in a press release a 39-page amicus brief in support of a criminal complaint against China filed in August 2022 by several human rights groups. (RELATED: NBA Begins ‘Strategic Collaboration’ With Giant Chinese Company)
“The Chinese government’s actions have been recognized as a genocide by two successive U.S. administrations,” the press release read. “According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, China’s suppression of the Uyghur population, including through forced detention, torture, killing, systematic annihilation, and forced sterilization, constitute crimes against humanity, which can be prosecuted and punished for the preservation of international peace and fundamental freedoms.”
The brief accuses China of facilitating the deaths of 5 to 10% of the Uyghurs it imprisons while noting that “exact numbers are difficult to ascertain given the Chinese government’s attempts to suppress public knowledge of its actions.”
The CCP also has, according to the brief, “committed all five actions” constituting genocide according to international law.
“[K]illing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group,” the brief read, citing the definition of genocide.
Stephanie Barclay, director of the Notre Dame Law School Religious Liberty Initiative, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that its “very important for universities to condemn the Uyghur situation in China.”
“No one deserves to be persecuted due to their religious beliefs or distinct ethnic identity,” Barclay said. “At an event about the Uyghur genocide that took place at Notre Dame Law School in October, a student expressed that, if more people truly understood the gravity of the situation, more action would be taken. Students should have the opportunity to learn about the genocide and ways they could potentially help the Uyghur community.”
NDLS’ brief came as a response to an original criminal complaint filed in August 2022 by the World Uyghur Congress (WUC), an international organization that represents the interests of Uyghurs globally, and the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), an organization that “promotes the rights of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim peoples. TWUC and UHRP submitted the complaint to the Argentinian universal jurisdiction court provided by the Argentinian Constitution, which accepts criminal complaints regarding “international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and torture wherever they take place,” according to UHRP’s press release.
If the Argentinian court decides to hear the case, witnesses could be called to testify about the CCP’s treatment of the Uyghurs for the “first time” since the abuse began, according to the press release.
Uyghur Human Rights Project did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
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