Uyghur women in China are forced into interethnic marriages: Report

Uyghur Women In China Are Forced Into Interethnic Marriages: Report
📷 Uyghur women spotted shopping in China's streets.

Since 2014, in the Uyghur region of China, interethnic marriages have been encouraged and pushed by the Chinese government, as per a report by a Washington-based advocacy group. The latest study by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) is supported by data from official Chinese policy documents, profiles, and testimonials, as well as accounts from Uyghur women living abroad.

The study “Forced Marriage of Uyghur Women: State Policies for Interethnic Marriage in East Turkistan” looks at how the party-state encourages, rewards, and coerces interethnic marriages between Uyghur women and Han men in East Turkistan.

The paper provides data to support the contention that the Chinese Party-State is actively engaged in a drive to forcibly integrate Uyghurs into Han Chinese society through intermarried relationships.

Omer Kanat, executive director of UHRP, stated that the report “brings to light another kind of gender-based violence that necessitates action from concerned states, relevant UN agencies, and women’s groups.”

Uyghur women describe frequent sexual abuse in China’s jails and concentration camps, and evidence of forced sterilisation was crucial to the Uyghur Tribunal’s determination of whether or not the Uyghur people had been subjected to genocide, continued Kanat.

In relation to marriages between Uyghurs and Han, the report details Party-State policies and coercive actions.

The evidence, according to UHRP, “includes state-approved online accounts of interethnic marriages and weddings; state-approved personal online testimonials from individuals in interethnic marriages; government statements and policy directives; and firsthand accounts of coerced and incentivized marriages from Uyghur women in the diaspora.”

Additionally, it states that forced and encouraged marriages are gender-based crimes that contravene national and international standards for human rights in the Uyghur region. The continuous genocide and crimes against humanity being done in East Turkistan are only made worse by government policies encouraging and pressuring intermarriage and other gender-based violence.

The United Nations and other states have acknowledged that the violations of human rights in East Turkistan amount to or may amount to crimes against humanity.

The UHRP, based in Washington, urged women’s rights advocacy campaigns to demand accountability and put an end to the forced marriages that Uyghur and other Turkic women are subjected to.

The Chinese government is urged to put policies in place to effectively stop and prevent such state-sponsored forced marriages and sexual violence, as well as to request that the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) thoroughly examine evidence of gender-based crimes in its 2023 country review of China.

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