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Washington: The Chinese government incentivised and forced inter-ethnic marriages that have been occurring in the Uyghur region since 2014, according to a report by a Washington-based advocacy group.

The new research by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) is based on evidence from Chinese state media and policy documents, government-sanctioned profiles and testimonials, and accounts from women in the Uyghur diaspora.

The report, “Forced Marriage of Uyghur Women: State Policies for Interethnic Marriage in East Turkistan,” examines the Party-State’s role in promoting, incentivizing, and coercing interethnic marriage between Uyghur women and Han men in East Turkistan.

The report offers evidence to show that the Chinese Party-State is actively involved in a campaign of forcefully assimilating Uyghurs into Han Chinese society through mixed marriages.

“This report brings to light another form of gender-based violence that demands action from concerned states, relevant UN agencies, and women’s groups,” said Omer Kanat, UHRP Executive Director.

“The Chinese government targets women in its ongoing genocide of the Uyghur people. Uyghur women report routine sexual violence in China’s concentration camps and prisons, and evidence of the forced sterilization was integral to the genocide adjudication of the Uyghur Tribunal,” Kanat added.

The report documents Party-State policies and coercive practices related to Uyghur-Han marriages.

“Evidence includes state-approved online accounts of interethnic marriages and weddings; state-approved personal online testimonials from individuals in interethnic marriages; government statements and policy directives; and firsthand accounts of coerced and incentivized marriages from Uyghur women in the diaspora,” UHRP said in its report.

It adds that forced and incentivized marriages in the Uyghur region are forms of gender-based crimes that violate international human rights standards. Government policies incentivizing and coercing intermarriage and other gender based-abuse only further the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity being committed in East Turkistan.

Multiple governments and the United Nations have recognized that the human rights abuses in East Turkistan constitute or may constitute genocide and/or crimes against humanity, according to the report.

The Washington-based UHRP urged women’s rights advocacy campaigns to call for accountability and end forced and incentivized marriages suffered by Uyghur and other Turkic women.

It also requested the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) to thoroughly examine evidence of gender-based crimes in its 2023 country review of China, and calls on the Chinese government to implement measures to effectively end and prevent such state-sponsored forced marriages and sexual violence.

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