The grants aim to help shed light on China’s genocide of Uyghurs, foundation head says.
By Gulchehra Hoja for RFA Uyghur
July 12, 2023
Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, one of three Uyghur groups awarded a grant by the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, gestures as he speaks during a demonstration against China in front of the United Nations Office in Geneva, Switzerland, November 6, 2018.
The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity has awarded grants amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars to three Uyghur groups dedicated to Uyghur rights advocacy and education amid ongoing repression against the mostly Muslim ethnic group by Chinese authorities.
The Germany-based World Uyghur Congress and U.S.-based Uyghur Human Rights Project were selected as grantees for planning to host a conference of Uyghur allies and activists later this year in New York to discuss the international response to the persecution of Uyghurs, which the U.S. government and other Western parliaments have labeled a genocide.
They will hold the event along with Jewish World Watch, another grantee.
The third Uyghur organization selected as a grantee is Ana Care and Education, a nonprofit based in Virginia, in the United States, that provides programs for Uyghur families living in the diaspora to preserve their language, history and culture.
The grantees were selected “based on their commitment to advocating for the Uyghur community, who are being unlawfully detained by the Chinese government in an effort to create a single-ethnic state,” the nonprofit organization said in a statement issued on Monday.
Grants totaling US$550,000 were awarded to the activist organizations as well as to four other nonprofits for educational fellowships, though the specific amounts for each were not given.
The grant-making initiative, launched in October 2022, supports organizations whose efforts are grounded by the values of Elie Wiesel, a writer, educator, political activist and Holocaust survivor who died in 2016.
Wiesel and his wife, Marion, set up the foundation after he received the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace.
Elisha Wiesel, Elie’s son and chairman of the foundation, told Radio Free Asia that by using the money to shed light on the Uyghur genocide, the world will learn about the crimes that are occurring in Xinjiang.
“The largest genocide on the planet is [that of the] Uyghur minority,” Elisha Wiesel said. “Right now, the Chinese government is trying to end their Muslim practices, trying to assimilate their faith, and as is in many ways trying to end their identity as a people, including the use of detainment camps.”
“We feel it is the cause that is the most severe on the planet, and yet not many people are speaking about it.”
Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, said the grant is important because it will help make the world accept the genocide, gain the world’s sympathy, and make the Jewish community more aware of the Uyghur issue and act upon it.
Sureyya Kashgary, director of Ana Care & Education, said her organization received a $50,000 grant for school-based learning for students and adults that connect them to their Uyghur ancestry.
Translated by RFA Uyghur. Edited by Roseanne Gerin and Malcolm Foster.