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Mercredi 18 décembre 2019 - Strasbourg Edition révisée

11. Remise du Prix Sakharov (Séance solennelle)
Vidéo des interventions
PV
MPphoto
 

  Presidente. – Ho il piacere di dare il benvenuto a Jewher Ilham, figlia di Ilham Tohti, che è venuta qui oggi per rappresentare suo padre alla cerimonia di consegna del Premio Sacharov per la libertà di pensiero 2019.

Vorrei porgere i miei saluti a tutti i finalisti del Premio Sacharov, che quest’anno si sono presentati e sono stati presentati dai nostri parlamentari, e che sono presenti qui con noi nella tribuna diplomatica.

Abbiamo con noi gli esponenti brasiliani della lotta per i diritti umani, la difesa dell’ambiente e la conservazione della foresta pluviale amazzonica:

- Monica Benicio in rappresentanza della sua defunta partner Marielle Franco, uccisa nel marzo del 2018

- Claudelice Silva Dos Santos

- Patxon Metuktire in rappresentanza di suo nonno Capo Raoni

E per The Restorers, abbiamo un gruppo di giovani studentesse keniote, le quali hanno deciso di utilizzare la tecnologia per l’emancipazione delle donne e per la lotta contro le mutilazioni genitali femminili:

- Stacy Owino

- Synthia Otieno

- Purity Ouma

- Macrine Onyango

A nome del Parlamento europeo, vi ringrazio per essere con noi oggi e ci congratuliamo con voi per il vostro coraggio e il vostro forte impegno e naturalmente continueremo a seguire le vostre attività.

Prima di proseguire, vorrei invitarvi a guardare un breve video sul vincitore di quest’anno, il Dott. Ilham Tohti.

(Viene proiettato un video)

Signore e signori, care colleghe e cari colleghi, oggi assegniamo il premio Sacharov per la libertà di pensiero al Professor Ilham Tohti, che non può essere qui con noi essendo detenuto in carcere dal 2014. La sua lotta, per la quale sta pagando ancora un caro prezzo, deve essere per noi fonte di ispirazione. Esprimo il mio sincero ringraziamento a sua figlia, la signora Jewher Ilham, che ha avuto il coraggio di venire qui in sua rappresentanza.

È qui, nel cuore stesso della democrazia europea, che possiamo sentire, ma soprattutto ascoltare, la voce di coloro i quali non possono farlo nei loro paesi.

Attraverso il conferimento del premio Sacharov, questo Parlamento deve farsi portavoce della libertà di pensiero e di parola, una libertà estremamente preziosa, per tanti e per troppi ancora pericolosa.

Sono particolarmente fiero e onorato di poter conferire questo premio al Professor Ilham.

La sua lotta mette in luce i valori del dialogo, della comprensione reciproca, della moderazione, della riconciliazione e della diversità culturale. Sono quegli stessi valori che stanno alla base del progetto europeo.

Ilham Tohti è professore di economia, ma è anche una voce che ci invita tutti alla moderazione e alla riconciliazione. Si è impegnato per la difesa dei diritti della minoranza uigura in Cina, con la speranza di migliorare le loro condizioni di vita. Gli uiguri sono costantemente vittime di persecuzioni di ogni tipo: fisiche, culturali, religiose, economiche e politiche.

Dall'aprile 2017, oltre un milione di uiguri innocenti sono detenuti arbitrariamente in una rete di campi di prigionia, in cui sono costretti a rinunciare alla loro identità etnica e alle loro convinzioni religiose.

Tuttavia, questo popolo è un grande popolo, con un'identità profonda, e con una storia ultramillenaria nel corso della quale ha potuto sviluppare una cultura che merita di essere preservata. Ilham Tohti, attraverso le sue attività di militante, è riuscito a dare loro una voce. Sebbene sia detenuto in carcere, la sua voce risuona oggi assieme a quella di sua figlia e di molti altri uiguri.

Da oltre vent'anni lavora instancabilmente per promuovere il dialogo e la comprensione reciproca tra gli uiguri e gli altri popoli cinesi. Ciononostante, è stato condannato all'ergastolo con l'accusa di "separatismo".

Il Parlamento europeo chiede la sua liberazione immediata e incondizionata.

La sua lotta e tutte le sofferenze che ha subito ci ricordano che dobbiamo lottare per la libertà di pensiero. È un diritto fondamentale che, a volte, si conquista al prezzo di vite umane.

Vorrei altresì ricordare, naturalmente con tutti voi, i vincitori delle scorse edizioni del premio, che sono attualmente in carcere e sono perseguitati per aver difeso i diritti umani e le libertà fondamentali, e talvolta persino per il semplice fatto di aver vinto il premio Sacharov: Nasrin Sotoudeh, Raif Badaw, le "Damas de Blanco", vari membri dell'opposizione democratica in Venezuela e Asmaa Mahfouz.

Pertanto, questo Parlamento esorta l'Alto rappresentante ad adottare tutte le misure necessarie, nei suoi contatti con i paesi interessati, per ottenere la liberazione e la cessazione della persecuzione dei vincitori del premio Sacharov. Tale richiesta è estesa agli Stati membri dell'Unione europea e ai nostri governi, nel quadro delle loro relazioni bilaterali cerchino di trasmettere i valori comuni dell'Unione europea e di difendere i diritti umani e le libertà.

Oggi dovrebbe essere un giorno di festa per celebrare la libertà di pensiero e invece è un giorno triste. Ancora una volta questa sedia è vuota, perché nel mondo in cui viviamo essere liberi di pensare non significa sempre essere realmente liberi.

Nella speranza che Ilham Tothi venga rilasciato, che ci venga a trovare, rivolgiamo il nostro pensiero a lui, ai suoi familiari e a tutti coloro i quali sono purtroppo in carcere con lui. Sua figlia, Jewher Ilham, ci concede l'onore di essere qui in sua rappresentanza e a lei cedo la parola.

 
  
MPphoto
 

  Jewher Ilham, representing her father Ilham Tohti, Winner of the Sakharov Prize.Assalamu alaykum, peace be upon you. I want to thank the European Parliament and all those who made it possible for my father to receive the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. You have highlighted not only my father’s work and the persecution he has endured because of it, but you bring to the attention of the European Union and the rest of the world the plight of over one million Uyghurs who have been forcibly detained in concentration camps in the Uyghur Region. Thank you. Rehmet.

It is an honour to be at the European Parliament today to accept the Sakharov Prize on behalf of my father. I am grateful for the opportunity to tell his story, because he cannot tell it himself. To be honest with you, I don’t know where my father is. 2017 was the last time my family received word about him. At that time, he was being held in Urumqi first prison. I have not seen my father since we were separated at the Beijing airport in 2013 – we were on our way to Indiana University, where my father was invited as a visiting scholar. Unfortunately, he never made it to the US.

On that day, we were pulled out of the security line. I was given the choice of boarding the plane and flying to the US, or staying with my father. My father insisted that I continue. He said to me, ‘Don’t cry, don’t let them think Uyghur girls are weak.’ I went, and because of his encouragement, I am here in Strasbourg with all of you. But while I travelled on, he was detained, beaten, questioned, and now carries a life sentence at some undisclosed location. I will never be able to travel back to China and will likely never meet my family again.

It is hard to believe that my father still physically resembles now the man I knew as a child. The man who worked at my bedroom desk in pyjamas after I complained he spent more time on his website ‘Uyghur Biz’ than with me. When there was a problem, my father always had a solution. He believed that when there was a problem, you need to fix it, just like when there is a hole in a fabric, you need to sew it. An unresolved problem, he thought, will lead to a bigger problem. And so, he moved his laptop into my room and he worked at my desk while I sat on my bed doing homework. This way, we could be together. Sometimes, he would forget how late it was, lost in his work until 4 in the morning. I would go in and out of sleep to the click of his fingers on the computer.

I was a teenager then, with little understanding of why my father would give up his profitable business career and our trips to the Nujie halal meat market for the life that landed him in prison. There was a time when we could afford to buy a whole halal lamb or an entire sheep and share it with the neighbourhood. After my father committed himself to advocating for the rights of Uyghurs, halal lamb grew more scarce in our household.

My father’s wealth went to supporting the Uyghur community – from poor Uyghur mothers to homeless children. When he purchased a server in the United States to secure his website ‘Uyghur Biz’, there was no money left for lamb. My father was not afraid of being poor as long as he could devote himself to the cause that came to define his life: fostering peaceful dialogue and understanding between the Han Chinese and the Uyghurs living in the western part of China.

For him, the problem was clear. Uyghurs were being denied basic rights: the right to believe what we believe; the right to worship the way we want to worship; the right to think what we want to think.

For him, the solution was simple: to engage with the Chinese Government in conversation about working with Uyghur people in a peaceful, non-violent and instructive way. The Chinese Government was not interested in conversations about working on the tensions building in the Uyghur region with a Uyghur scholar like my father – a man who was committed to peaceful resolution where the Han and the Uyghurs could live in harmony. Instead, they labelled him a separatist and locked him in solitary confinement for empowering the very people the Chinese Government wanted to control.

Today, there is no freedom for Uyghurs in China – you know this – not at school, not in public, not even in private homes. My father, like most Uyghurs, has been labelled a violent extremist, with a diseases that needs to be cured and a mind that need to be washed. It is under this false label of extremism that the Government has put one million people – probably even more – into concentration camps, where Uyghurs are forced to give up their religion, language and culture, where forced labour is widespread and people are tortured. Some have died.

History repeats itself. It didn’t end well before; it won’t end well now. China labels them as ‘re-education centres’. Sorry, but I don’t buy this term, and you shouldn’t either.

‘Extremism’ is the kind of language the Chinese Government uses to justify tearing families apart, controlling and monitoring every move of the Uyghurs inside and outside of China, and putting so many innocent people into camps. Even in my home in Washington DC, my phone and computer are often hacked.

People ask me, am I scared? Yes, I am afraid. Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat. Sometimes I worry that my speaking out will bring harm to my family living in China. Even speaking to you today makes me nervous. I’m sure my father was afraid, too. But when he identified a problem, he overcame his fear by working towards a solution, no matter what the cost. I’m here today because I want to support my father.

So I ask you in this room and those who are listening: do you see a problem with the way the Chinese Government is treating Uyghur people? If you see a problem, please work towards a solution. Work from your place of influence.

To the Members of Parliament: use your laws to hold Chinese Government officials accountable. To businesses: don’t be complicit in the Chinese Government’s persecution of the Uyghur people. To the scholars: continue your research to help expose these atrocities. To the NGOs: keep up the good work and hang in there.

(Applause)

To students: educate yourselves and never stop your pursuit of the truth and your fight for justice.

This is not about fighting China. This is about protecting human rights.

A special mention goes to my father’s students who are serving years in prison for supporting him and his projects. These brave people, as well as my Uyghur brothers and sisters, are not alone in the camps. Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uzbek people are jailed in concentration camps simply for being themselves. Human rights lawyers and human rights defenders are held in prison simply for protecting the rights of other human beings. Elsewhere in China, Tibetans and Hong Kongers, the Chinese Christians continue to struggle to protect their identity and their basic human rights.

In the spirit of my father’s work to promote a world of respect and understanding among different communities, I would like to bring to your attention the other finalists. Although they have not received the Prize, their dedication and work deserve equal attention. Therefore, I ask you to discover more about The Restorers, who are doing amazing work in improving the lives of women in Kenya and elsewhere in Africa. In Brazil, the causes of the late Marielle Franco, Chief Raoni and Ms Silva dos Santos must be supported for their tireless work on preserving the Amazon rainforest and the rights of marginalised indigenous people who live in the region.

(Applause)

These incredible people need to be heard. These people need your immediate support.

Finally, while I don’t know where my father is, I believe he is alive. I believe that his spirit, as captured in the Sakharov Prize, honours the father I know who moved his computer into my bedroom when I needed him. Now, the Uyghur people need you. Thank you very much.

(Loud and sustained applause)

(The sitting was suspended at 12.35)

 
Dernière mise à jour: 4 mars 2020Avis juridique - Politique de confidentialité