The World Uyghur Congress has submitted a formal complaint to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Ethics Commission over Beijing’s hosting of the 2022 Winter Olympics following "verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity taking place" against Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims in China.
The World Uyghur Congress consists of exiled Uyghur groups, with the international organisation saying it aspires to "represent the collective interest of the Uyghur people" inside and outside of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China.
The organisation says it instructed international human rights barrister Michael Polak of Church Court Chambers and head of Lawyers for Uyghur Rights to draft a formal written complaint.
The complaint has been submitted the IOC Ethics Commission through the Ethics and Compliance Office and reportedly alleges the IOC, its Executive Board and President Thomas Bach have acted in breach of the Olympic Charter.
They are accused of breaching the Olympic Charter by "failing to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing following verifiable evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity taking place against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims by the People’s Republic of China."
Evidence submitted along with the complaint reportedly proves that a number of crimes against humanity are taking place, such as mass sterilisation, arbitrary detention in internment camps, torture, repressive security and surveillance, and forced labour and slavery.
"I am pleased to have been instructed by Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress to draft this important Complaint," Polak said in a statement.
"The IOC, its Executive Board, and its President Thomas Bach are all required to abide by the ethical principles of the Olympic Movement, the Olympic Charter, and the Olympic ideal inspired by Pierre de Coubertin.
"It is clear that holding the 2022 Olympics in Beijing whilst China carries out genocide and crimes against humanity against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim people is not compatible with those principles and is contrary to those parties’ obligation under Article 2 of the Code of Conduct not to 'act in a manner likely to tarnish the reputation of the Olympic Movement.'
"We hope that the Ethics Committee will engage with the issue we have put before them and call for the 2022 Olympic to be moved if international crimes continue to be carried out against the Uyghurs.
"We look forward to the opportunity of calling evidence from first-hand witnesses who have fled the horrors of the camps and systematic repression so the Ethics Committee and Olympic Movement cannot say that they were unaware of what was taking place in the Uyghur Region and across China with the forced movement of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims for use as slave labour."
🗞️PRESS RELEASE🗞️— WorldUyghurCongress (@UyghurCongress) August 14, 2020
The WUC has submitted a written complaint to the IOC Ethics Commission for its refusal to reconsider hosting the @Beijing2022 in China amidst a genocide against #Uyghurs.
WUC calls on @iocmedia to uphold its own ethical principles. https://t.co/AeQpfwxTeL pic.twitter.com/JVBBG3908z
The World Uyghur Congress has also claimed that given the "opaque nature of the supply chains in China, especially in regards to textiles and technology, it is likely that the IOC will be directly involved in the international crimes committed against the Uyghur and other Turkic Muslim people".
The organisation says this is due to "widely documented forced transport and use of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims as slave labour", which it says makes it impossible for the IOC to ensure that the technology used in Olympic competitions and the hosting of the Games is not tainted.
"The IOC can no longer claim ignorance of China’s genocide against the Uyghur people.
"If the IOC allows China to host the 2022 Winter Games, it is willfully and intentionally abandoning the values and principles that underpin the Olympic Movement," said Dolkun Isa, World Uyghur Congress President.
"These detailed submissions explain the evidence of the international crimes being committed against my people, the Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and other Turkic Muslim people and how this clearly conflicts with the ethical principles with which the Olympic family is supposed to comply.
"Further, it is likely that the technology and merchandising used for the Olympic will be tainted by the well-reported forced transportation and slave labour against us.
"If the International Olympic Committee allows the Chinese government to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, it will go down as a historically shameful decision."
When contacted by insidethegames, the IOC said awarding the Games to a National Olympic Committee "does not mean IOC agrees with the political structure, social circumstances or human rights standards in its country".
The IOC said its Beijing 2022 Evaluation Commission has raised human rights issues with national and local authorities and has "received assurances that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be respected in the context of the Games".
"The Olympic Games are the only event that brings the entire world together in this way in peaceful competition," the IOC said in a statement to insidethegames.
"They are the most powerful symbol of unity in all our diversity the world knows.
"In our fragile world, the power of sport to bring the whole world together, despite all the existing differences, gives us all hope for a better future.
"Given the diverse participation in the Olympic Games, the IOC must remain neutral on all global political issues.
"Awarding the Olympic Games to a National Olympic Committee does not mean that the IOC agrees with the political structure, social circumstances or human rights standards in its country.
"At all times, the IOC recognises and upholds human rights enshrined in both the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter and in our Code of Ethics.
"We are responsible for ensuring the respect of the Olympic Charter with regard to the Olympic Games and take this responsibility very seriously.
"At the same time, the IOC has neither the mandate nor the capability to change the laws or the political system of a sovereign country.
"This must rightfully remain the legitimate role of governments and respective intergovernmental organisations.
"For the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the IOC Evaluation Commission considered the views of independent NGOs [non-governmental organisations] with respect to a number of issues including human rights.
"These issues were and are raised with the government and local authorities.
"We received assurances that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be respected in the context of the Games.
"We will continue to discuss Games-related issues with the organisers as part of the Games preparation process."
Today, I wrote to @iocmedia President Thomas Bach requesting a meeting prior to their Executive Board meeting.— Rick Scott (@SenRickScott) August 6, 2020
The IOC must stand up for freedom and urge Communist China to stop violating human rights, or find a new home for the 2022 @Olympics. pic.twitter.com/wFT4k0GyvC
The IOC has also faced criticism from politicians in the United States over China’s hosting of the Winter Olympics.
Earlier this week, Florida Senator Rick Scott said he had requested a meeting with Bach to discuss his concerns about the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.
Scott said he has sent a letter to Bach requesting to speak to him before October's IOC Executive Board meeting.
The IOC said it has not yet received Scott's letter.
Scott had already written to the IOC in October 2019, detailing the human-rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims in the province of Xinjiang, as well as the people of Hong Kong.
Bach replied saying that the IOC has to remain "politically neutral".
The United States last month sanctioned several Chinese officials under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act, after accusing them of "serious human rights abuse against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang".
The abuses reportedly include "mass arbitrary detention and severe physical abuse, among other serious abuses targeting Uyghurs, a Turkic Muslim population indigenous to Xinjiang, and other ethnic minorities in the region".