Divest U.Va from the Uyghur Genocide
Divest U.Va from the Uyghur Genocide
Why this petition matters
We, the undersigned students and student groups at The University of Virginia, demand that the University investigate its endowment in order to divest from organizations complicit in the Uyghur genocide and that it protect the rights, privacy, and safety of students impacted by this genocide to the fullest extent of its capability.
The impetus for this action includes the following:
The People’s Republic of China is currently committing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs, which the independent Uyghur Tribunal has provided copious evidence to prove. (https://uyghurtribunal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Uyghur-Tribunal-Summary-Judgment-9th-Dec-21.pdf
The US Department of State, along with others around the world, have confirmed that the People’s Republic of China is committing a “genocide” and continual “violation[s] of human rights.” (https://www.state.gov/the-signing-of-the-uyghur-forced-labor-prevention-act/
The Xinjiang province houses the largest network of concentration camps since the Second World War, with over one million Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples interned. Forced labor within these camps has become institutionalized both within Xinjiang and elsewhere in the People’s Republic of China. (https://www.icij.org/investigations/china-cables/exposed-chinas-operating-manuals-for-mass-internment-and-arrest-by-algorithm/
Uyghur men and women of all ages endure rape, torture, property destruction, forced labor, and other horrific crimes against humanity. Hundreds of thousands of Uyghur children have been forcibly separated from their parents and families. Intellectuals, such as Dr. Gulshan Abbas, are specifically targeted, and mosques are destroyed and graveyards paved over. (“Break Their Roots: Evidence for China’s Parent-Child Separation Campaign in Xinjiang.” The Journal of Political Risk 7, no. 7 (July 4, 2019))
These abuses do not end at China’s borders. Uyghurs living outside China, especially university students, are not safe. Universities have been at the center of this campaign, with students on U.S. college campuses often facing surveillance, manipulation, and coercion from proxies of the People’s Republic of China. The University of Virginia holds an obligation to protect its students from this unsafe environment. We cannot delay further action, starting with our own university. (https://www.hrw.org/news/2019/03/21/china-government-threats-academic-freedom-abroad
It is our responsibility, not only as members of the University of Virginia student body, but as allies of the AAPI community, to condemn the hatred, racism, and xenophobia that they have suffered since 2016. In doing so, we must also separate those directly responsible for the abuse of human rights in China from the Chinese people, as this distinction is vital.
We would like to acknowledge that the Chinese Communist Party is NOT the identity of China and its people. The people of China include diverse members of diaspora communities, and these different perspectives should not be generalized under their fascist government. We must stand with the affected members of the AAPI community. We must stand with the Uyghur people.
Therefore, we the undersigned:
DEMAND that the University rejects all forms of intimidation by the People’s Republic of China against Uyghurs, other Turkic minorities, Chinese living abroad, and all others engaged in peaceful protest and activism, and pledges to protect impacted students from any form of retaliation, harassment, or intimidation.
URGE the University to investigate their direct holdings, externally managed funds, and all financial instruments for investments in companies and entities complicit in the repression of the Uyghurs and procurement of benefit from their forced labor.
CALL ON the University to either directly divest from these companies and entities or exercise their influence as investors, or calling on external fund managers to exercise their investor influence, to redirect companies from profiting from the genocide and forced labor of the Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities.
URGE the University to investigate its research collaborations between affiliate universities and entities involved in the mass surveillance, genetic sequencing, forced labor, and repression of Uyghurs.
COMPEL the University to make an official public statement committing to be transparent regarding their involvement with companies who use forced labor and to pledge to divest from these companies if they do not stop profiting from the genocide and forced labor of the Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities within one fiscal year.
Alpha Phi Omega
Uyghur Human Rights Project
We anxiously await your response at email@example.com.