Story at a glance

  • The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) filed a complaint with the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission requesting the organization reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in China due to “verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity.”
  • The human rights group says the ethics office has failed to properly consider its grievance in a breach of its own rules.
  • The WUC last week called on ethics committee chairman Ban Ki-moon, a former U.N. secretary-general, to directly review the complaint himself or appoint an ethics and compliance officer to do so.

A human rights group that represents Uyghur Muslims in China is calling on the chairperson of the International Olympic Committee’s ethics commission to personally make a ruling on a complaint the group filed to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) filed a complaint with the Olympic committee’s ethics commission on August 2020 requesting the organization reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in China due to “verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity taking place against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims by the People’s Republic of China.” 


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The human rights group says the ethics office has failed to properly consider its grievance in a breach of its own rules, as the group received a reply only from the committee’s executive director and not the ethics commission. In response, the WUC last week called on ethics committee chairman Ban Ki-moon, a former U.N. secretary-general, to directly review the complaint himself or appoint an ethics and compliance officer to do so. 

“It is vital that ethical issues are handled with transparency, independence, and fairness,” Michael Polak, a London-based international human rights lawyer and head of Lawyers for Uyghur Rights, said in a statement

“I was shocked at the scant response to our original lengthy and evidence-based complaint, which was to simply refer us back to the IOC Executive Committee, the very subject of our ethical complaint,” Polak said. 

He said Ban should act immediately or “risk the integrity of the Olympic’s ethics procedures.” Ban was appointed to lead the ethics commission in 2017. 

The Chinese government has faced international criticism over its treatment of the mostly Muslim Uyghur population in the northwestern region of Xinjiang. 

Over the last several years, China has been accused of arbitrarily detaining millions in internment camps where the minority population has reportedly experienced forced labor, beatings and even the forcible sterilization of women. The group claims they have been targeted due to their religion. 

The Chinese government has pushed back against the claims, saying the camps are vocational educational and training centers. 

The U.S. has accused China of committing genocide and crimes against humanity. 


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Published on Mar 05, 2021