Opinion

Gulchehra Hoja’s speech at the Magnitsky Human Rights Award ceremony

by admin - Mar 17, 2021 0 Comment

– Thank you so much for this award and especially for creating the Magnitsky Act to hold human rights violators accountable.

– By focusing on the human rights abuses perpetrated by an authoritarian state against one man, Sergey Magnitsky, you have made it possible to seek and achieve a measure of justice for so many who suffer violence where there is no rule of law.

– Bill, by your commitment to telling Sergey’s story, and your success in getting countries to adopt Magnitsky laws to protect human rights internationally, you have shown the power of an individual against an authoritarian regime. Your example has empowered many others with the hope and faith necessary to aspire to seek justice.

– By freezing perpetrator’s assets abroad and restricting their freedom to travel, you are publicly naming and shaming them, showing the world’s disgust with their actions and separating them from international commerce.

– That is exactly what is needed most right now for the crimes China is committing against millions of Uyghurs. At the very least, the world should separate itself from the perpetrators of today’s concentration camps in the Uyghur Region. Perpetrators should be forced to choose between violating human rights and enjoying the benefits of international trade.  The entire Uyghur Region is a forced labor zone that enables billions of dollars in trade advantages for China.

– As a reporter documenting so many human rights abuses occurring in your own homeland, it is easy to become a target yourself.  When you then become the individual target of an authoritarian regime that would take your whole extended family to the concentration camps to extort your silence, it is overwhelming grief. It can crush you. But I found that your response to such psychological torture can also change you permanently from one who is susceptible to such extortion to one who is empowered through the loss of everything to stand up to an authoritarian regime.

– Disconnecting from China’s actions against me has been the only way to not only maintain sanity but also to help others begin to stand up to China’s long arm that attempts to stretch across the world with threats to achieve the world’s silence about its repression. By going public with my own story and testifying Congress to seek a measure of justice, I have found renewed meaning in my work. You must find meaning in life. It is the only natural antidepressant known to humanity.

– The Chinese Communist Party is taking hostages by the millions, not only inflicting pain directly on those it puts into its concentration camps but even delivering illegal threats individually to relatives abroad.  The world’s silence has only encouraged China to expand its concentration camps to hold millions of people.  And those outside the camps suffer under the world’s worst Orwellian mass surveillance police state.  I cannot understand how it is possible for the world not only to turn a blind eye to such high-tech violations of rights but to actively invest in those CCP-controlled companies and even invite the very companies involved to build out 5G infrastructure in Western democracies.

– It is long past time to use Magnitsky sanctions to separate ourselves from the perpetrators. If the free world does not use such targeted individual sanctions in a timely manner to deter, then it will have to start talking about how China’s actions meet the definition of genocide.  According to experts, China’s documented mass abuses meet every single example of genocidal acts listed in the 1948 Genocide Convention, each of which the world, including China, has obligated itself to prevent and punish.

– I only hope the world remembers its commitments and laws and finally voices with meaningful actions the words we each must have the courage to demand: “Never Again!”