Fate of Uyghur Refugees Increasingly Uncertain During the Pandemic

Some of the Uighurs in Istanbul, Turkey, do not have promising jobs to make ends meet. The coronavirus pandemic has curbed their chance for employments..

Aksi Cepat Tanggap provides food assistance for Uighur refugees in Turkey. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, ISTANBUL - There are no active jobs that the Uighurs can apply for during the Coronavirus pandemic. Many of them don’t have steady sources of income. They now rely a lot on humanitarian assistance to make ends meet.

Ismail Cengiz, founding secretary general of the Istanbul-based East Turkestan National Center, said that some 35,000 Uighurs live in Turkey, which has been a safe haven for them since the 1960s.

Currently, more than 60,000 Uighurs reside in Turkey. Not all members of the Uighur diasporic community live a decent life. Firdaus Guritno of Global Humanity Response - Aksi Cepat Tanggap reported that many Uighurs in Turkey have not been able to meet their basic needs during the pandemic.

“The Uighur diaspora in Turkey is affected by Covid-19 pandemic because there is no job available for them during the pandemic. Even now, the number of Covid-19 cases in Turkey has reached more than 250,000 positive cases, "said Firdaus.

Aksi Cepat Tanggap handed over cash assistance to impoverished Uighur families and orphaned hifz students on Wednesday (8/19) and Thursday (8/20). The aid handover reached 1,500 beneficiaries.

"Aksi Cepat Tanggap and its partners is trying to provide the best assistance for the Uighur diasporic families who live in poverty. We invite everyone to strengthen the Uighurs’ struggle by providing the best alms through the BNI Syariah account number 0096110239 in the name of Aksi Cepat Tanggap Foundation," said Firdaus.

To date, protests are still held by Uighurs in Istanbul. They question the fate of their family members who have not been able to be contacted, and they speak out about the alleged repression faced by the Uighurs in China.

Last Saturday (8/22), World Uyghur Congress invited people, through their Twitter account, to commemorate International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief. They remember all of the Uyghurs and others who are persecuted on the basis of their religion, culture & ethnicity.