Uyghurs Urge Other States to Copy US Sanctions Bill For Chinese XUAR Abuses

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 requires a House vote before it reaches President Trump.

Uyghurs Urge Other States to Copy US Sanctions Bill For Chinese XUAR Abuses

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Thursday that would sanction Chinese government officials responsible for arbitrary incarceration, forced labor and other abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, home to internment camps holding as many as 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslims.

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, condemns the Chinese Communist Party for the three-year-old internment camp program and requires regular monitoring of the situation in the XUAR by U.S. government bodies for the application of sanctions once signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Mass incarcerations in the XUAR -- as well as other policies seen to violate the rights of Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Muslims -- have sparked calls by the international community to hold Beijing accountable for the abuses, including the use of advanced technology to control and suppress its citizens.

But the U.S. bill, passed unanimously by the Senate, is the first legislation to address the issue. Uyghur activists hailed the Senate vote, urged the House to finish its necessary voting, and called on European states to emulate the U.S. approach to their crisis.

“This represents the first legislative response to the Uyghur human rights crisis, and is an important first step to a more comprehensive policy response. U.S. leadership will help ensure that other nations take similar steps in confronting the Chinese government on its treatment of Uyghurs,” said the Uyghur Human Rights Project.

U.S.-based Uyghur attorney Nury Turkel called the vote “a great day for the Uyghur nation” and welcomed “long overdue legislation that is intended to address one of world's worst humanitarian crises.”

“I call on the other democratic nations to put in place similar legislation to address the crimes that CCP has committed against the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in China,” Turkel told RFA’s Uyghur Service.

“I also hope the democratic nations in the West, especially in Europe, could emulate the actions taken by the US Congress and enact relevant legislation to protect the Uyghur people from Chinese persecution,” said Dolkun Isa, president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC) exile group.

Existential threat as a nation

Thursday’s vote “sends a powerful message of hope and inspiration to the Uyghur people at a time when they are suffering crimes against humanity at the hands of the Chinese government.”

“Today the Uyghurs are facing an existential threat as a nation,” he told RFA.

“The passage of the act will also send a strong message to China that Uyghurs are not alone in this world and the international community stands with the Uyghur people,” added Isa.

The legislation was introduced by Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The version of the bill passed Thursday by the Senate doesn’t include export-control language added last year by the House of Representatives, which must vote on the legislation again before it goes to Trump for his signature.

Once enacted, the legislation requires the administration to submit a report to Congress within 180 days identifying for possible sanctions Chinese officials responsible for torture, prolonged detention without charges and a trial, and other abuses or inhuman treatment of Muslim minority groups in the XUAR.

'A pathway to bring to account our persecutors'

It also addresses Chinese government harassment of Uyghurs living inside the United States—an increasing threat from Chinese diplomatic missions and Communist Party-controlled United Front organizations in Western countries.

“Today’s action by the Senate sends a clear message that the United States will not be distracted and will not stand by as millions of Uyghur Muslims continue to be unjustly imprisoned, subjected to a mass surveillance state, and forced into labor camps by Beijing’s autocratic regime,” said Menendez.

“The Chinese Government and Communist Party’s systematic, ongoing efforts to wipe out the ethnic and cultural identities of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang is horrific and will be a stain on humanity should we refuse to act,” added Rubio.

Since April 2017, authorities in the XUAR are believed to have held up to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities accused of harboring “strong religious views” and “politically incorrect” in some 1,300 internment camps throughout the region.

While Beijing initially denied the existence of the camps, China last year changed tack and began describing the facilities as “boarding schools” that provide vocational training for Uyghurs, discourage radicalization, and help protect the country from terrorism.

But reporting by RFA’s Uyghur Service and other media outlets indicate that those in the camps are detained against their will and subjected to political indoctrination, routinely face rough treatment at the hands of their overseers and endure poor diets and unhygienic conditions in the often-overcrowded facilities.

“We have spent years struggling to have our voices heard. As the world engaged with China, Uyghurs experienced political repression, economic discrimination, and a loss of our cultural distinctiveness,” said UHRP director Omer Kanat.

“Since 2017, the brutal campaign of mass internment and imprisonment has brought the continued existence of the Uyghur people into question,” he added.

“Today, we have taken a big step to reverse this process. Uyghurs have a pathway to bring to account our persecutors,” said Kanat.

Reported by lim Seytoff for RFA's Uyghur Service. Written by Paul Eckert.

Source : Radio Free Asia More   

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Rhetoric and reality in Nepal’s education system

Author: Anil Paudel, Right4Children Nepal’s 2015 Constitution guarantees education as a fundamental right to all citizens, with free and compulsory basic education and free education up to the secondary level. The 2018 Act Relating to Compulsory and Free Education translates the constitutional provision into practice. Education is among Nepal’s top policy priorities — it accounts […]

Rhetoric and reality in Nepal’s education system

Author: Anil Paudel, Right4Children

Nepal’s 2015 Constitution guarantees education as a fundamental right to all citizens, with free and compulsory basic education and free education up to the secondary level. The 2018 Act Relating to Compulsory and Free Education translates the constitutional provision into practice. Education is among Nepal’s top policy priorities — it accounts for around 15 per cent of the annual national budget — but the current system is lagging behind these lofty goals.

Over half of total education spending funds basic education — from pre-primary to eighth-grade — and about a quarter is spent on secondary education — ninth-grade to 12th-grade. Around 8 per cent supports tertiary education and the lowest share of the education budget — 3.0 to 3.5 per cent — is spent on technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

Achieving universal basic education is the main priority of the Nepalese government, with its key focus on enhancing access, equity and quality. Increasing emphasis on education and investment is contributing to improving educational access for Nepal’s youth. Notably, progress in school enrolments is observable at the primary level where the net enrolment ratio crossed 97 per cent. All school levels have also achieved gender parity with equal representation of male and female students.

But despite the progress, student retention is a persistent challenge. Dropouts are a major problem and are associated with reduced enrolment rates in each subsequent higher level of education. Almost 80 per cent of students leave the education system before completing schooling at the secondary level. It is estimated that around two million school-age children are not in school across Nepal.

Still, how does the government’s rhetoric on education stack up against the reality? The main goal of education in Nepal is to contribute to workforce development and poverty reduction. Indeed, the public expect an education to provide better life outcomes for themselves and their children. They want decent employment and a higher standard of living. Employers searching the labour market also want education to provide a more skilled, work-ready population. Improving the quality of education and strengthening the ease of transition from school to work are major issues facing Nepal’s youth, their families and policymakers.

But the government’s focus on achieving basic education in its present state of delivery does not always provide the knowledge and skills to secure a job, income source and a pathway out of poverty. Given the prioritisation of resources to basic and secondary education, the youth that are no longer in school are left largely unsupported through their transition to work.

Students reaching higher levels of education in Nepal also develop skills that are not relevant to the labour market. There is too great of a focus on academic skills — the labour market does not have the capacity to absorb all graduates who aspire to high-level managerial and professional jobs. In reality, the education system produces a mass of unemployed educated youth that possess skills without a clear connection to labour market needs. This raises questions on the quality and practical relevance of education in Nepal.

Education policy focusses on providing quality education for all, but the existence of two types of schools — public and private —impedes this. Parents generally prefer to send their children to private schools. They believe a private school education will provide high-quality education with a better return on investment and improved life outcomes. Employers also see privately schooled students as more competent and qualified. But only the children from wealthier families can access these private schools.

Education is normally a key tool to address inequality, but the private education system in Nepal instead perpetuates inequality. It furthers social division among different class, caste, gender and ethnic groups, increasing the divide between rich and poor. The privatisation of education also instils a sense of class consciousness at the early stages of childhood. When children start school, they immediately face social stratification.

Nepal needs to improve its education system so that education not only gives hopes and dreams to its youth, but also helps them fulfil those dreams. The government must improve the quality of the public education system, and urgently establish a clear link between education and the labour market to produce more work-ready graduates. Education must also be demand-driven. School and university curriculums need to be reviewed with meaningful engagement from employers. Emphasis and investment in TVET — especially targeting those who do not pursue higher education — would also be helpful.

By ensuring these priorities are met, education can work as a tool to reduce inequality in Nepal rather than further it. The Nepalese education system and the country’s policymakers must refocus their efforts on achieving a fairer, more equitable education system.

Anil Paudel is CEO at , Pokhara.

Source : East Asia Forum More   

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