Jewher Ilham is an author, legal activist, and daughter of the Uighur scholar Ilham Tohti. The last time Ilham saw her father was in 2013 at Beijing Airport, where he was arrested by Chinese authorities.
“The pandemic has created a situation where people are physically isolated. Unfortunately, this is not new to Uyghurs,” she told CNN.
She continued: “Uyghurs have long been separated from their families and loved ones due to the oppression. It was particularly devastating to hear reports of Uyghur women facing gender-based violence and harassment. However, the pandemic also opened up opportunities for digital campaigns for safety and security of the people, including digital campaigns on Uighur rights. ”
Ilham said she was “very inspired” to hear Uyghur stories “lifted” on social media.
“It was so important for Uyghurs, including myself, to have solidarity from around the world. My message to you is: Please stand up for Uyghur women, for people around the world, regardless of their ethnic or religious identity. ”