The Rafto Foundation welcomes Bush’s recognition of Rebiya Kadeer and her struggle for democracy and the human rights of the Uighur people. At a conference on democracy and security on June 5, President George W. Bush met with Rafto Laureate Rebiya Kadeer and praised her as human rights defender, an individual who has struggled for freedom, democracy and human rights in the face of tyranny (JUN-08-07).
Text: Gunta Venge, the Rafto Human Rights House, Bergen.
Source and photos: the Uyghur Human Rights Project
In his speech Presiden Bush expressed strong reservations about China’s policy of carrying out economic reforms without opening its political system, and criticized the imprisonment of Ms. Kadeer’s (photo) two sons in the People´s Republic of China, who ”have been jailed in what we believe is an act of retaliation for her human rights activities.”
Last November, Kadeer’s youngest son, Alim Abdureyim (picture), was given a seven years prison sentence for tax evasion, and this April his brother Ablikim Abdureyim (picture) was sentenced to nine years in prison on charges of “secessionism”. According to the Uyghur American Association, he was not provided with legal representation. Both sons have reportedly been subjected to torture and other physical abuse.
President Bush also spoke about other dissidents and democratic activists whose calls for greater human rights have been brutally repressed, among them another Rafto Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, who is unjustly held under house arrest in Burma.
The Rafto Foundation believes that broad international support is crucial for those who fight for democracy and human rights in repressive regimes, and welcomes President Bush’s support for the struggles of Rebiya Kadeer, Aug Say Suu Kyi and others. The United States, as the most powerful nation in the world, has a particular responsibility to respect, protect, promote and fulfill human rights – at home, in its own actions abroad, as well as by supporting individuals, organizations and international bodies working to advance democracy and human rights.