Uyghur Relief Fund

This is an image of Uyghur children protesting
Photo taken from the Uyghur Relief Fund website

It's a relief fund for Uyghur people who arrive to Canada seeking asylum. The majority are fleeing from China, where they have been persecuted and repressed for years. 

I learned about the existence of the Uyghur and their situation in the Xinjiang region a few weeks ago, from an episode of This American Life. In recent years (I'm not sure since when), the Chinese government has detained, disappeared and subjugated a good part of the Uighur population. They send people by the thousands to "re-education centers", separate families and monitor their communications, all in an attempt to contain terrorism and religious extremism. This attempt, however, appears to have excessively high human costs.

The Uyghurs are an ethnic group with their own history, arts, traditions, and customs. They live mainly in Asia, in a region spanning from Turkey to China, passing through Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, and the majority are Muslim. Their food is a rich mix of ingredients and techniques from the Mediterranean to China, and their markets (according to what I have seen on YouTube) reminded me of Mexican tianguis.

 

Why did I choose them for the monthly donation?

I don't really know much more about the Uyghur and I have no relationship with anyone from their group. I have had the privilege of not being persecuted because of my origin or culture, so I cannot say that I fully understand the experience of being repressed, but I can imagine: having to leave my house, my people, my friends, the mountains that saw me grow, to go to another country to seek refuge. It must be very hard to start from scratch in another place with different rules, different language, different everything.

Ideally, the Chinese government would respect their self-determination and let them live in peace. In the absence of that, it may be a little easier with the help of the Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund to settle in Canada, cook a delicious lamb again, and share it with friends.