Uyghur rights advocates win grants from Elie Wiesel Foundation

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Uyghur rights advocates win grants from Elie Wiesel Foundation

Those fighting for China's persecuted Muslim minority will get a six-figure boost as Natan Sharansky says West's response is 'weak'

Uyghur demonstrator and campaigner
Uyghur demonstrator and campaigner

Advocates of China’s persecuted Uyghur Muslim minority are among those to have been allocated grants totalling £420,000 from a foundation set up in Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s name.

Three recipient organisations – World Uyghur Congress (WUC), Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), and Jewish World Watch (JWW) – will host a Conference of Uyghur activists and allies in New York this winter.

The aim of the event is to galvanise the international response to the ongoing Uyghur genocide, coordinate stakeholders, energise activism, and discuss new ways of engaging citizens of conscience.

Additional grantee Ana Care is working to preserve the Uyghur people’s language, history, and culture through interactive programming for schools, communities, and Uyghur families in the diaspora.

Russian-born Jewish human rights activist Natan Sharansky, who was part of the grant selection panel, said the Chinese regime “de facto keeps the Uyghur people in concentration camps, treating them in the most inhuman way”.

He added that their persecution was “probably the most massive violation of human rights in our time”, but that “the free world’s response is disproportionately weak to the scope of this crime”.

Dr Mehnaz Afridi, director of the Holocaust Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College, said: “I am especially grateful that the Foundation has focused on restoring the dignity of the Uyghur population.

“The work of the Elie Wiesel Foundation is an example of effective philanthropy. The message is loud and clear: that we must work together by investing in all prejudice no matter who we are.”

Further monies went towards a one-year Fellowship between Black and Jewish college students, in collaboration with Gratz College and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).

The foundation said it was “committed to jointly facing the challenges of racism and antisemitism”, adding that the Fellowship “will connect these two groups of students by visiting landmarks of importance to each culture while building on common experiences and understanding the need for mutual support”.

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