Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer
When: 12 to 15 October 2009
Human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer will visit New Zealand from October 12 to 15 and will be hosted by Green Party MP Keith Locke. She will be speaking at public meetings, visiting Parliament to meet MPs, and talking with other interested people and organisations.
Ms Kadeer’s trip will give New Zealanders the opportunity to learn about the indigenous Uighur people of East Turkistan/Xinjiang, a mainly Muslim province of 20 million people in the West of China.
A successful Uighur businesswoman, Ms Kadeer was imprisoned for six years for speaking out against human rights violations and discrimination against the Uighur people. Released due to ill health and an international outcry, she now promotes the Uighur cause from her base in the United States.
She emphasises peaceful resolutions to the problems of the Uighur people that have sometimes, as in July this year, erupted into violence.
Ms Kadeer’s advocacy has recently caused controversy following Chinese Government pressure on the Australian and Taiwanese Governments not to grant her a visa. Australia let her in, to speak at the Melbourne film festival launch of a documentary based on her life,
The 10 Conditions of Love.
China-based hackers also launched cyber-attacks on the website of the Melbourne Film Festival, and more recently a Festival in Taiwan, which was also showing the film. Only last week, the Taiwanese Government said Ms Kadeer wouldn’t be given a visa.
Last month Maori Television resisted strong pressure from the Chinese Embassy to cancel its screening of the film.
Mr Locke anticipates broad public interest among New Zealanders in the story of Ms Kadeer and her people.
The public is invited to attend the following public meetings.
Tuesday 13 October, 7.30pm, Pioneer Women’s and Ellen Melville Hall, corner of High Steet and Freyburg Place, central Auckland.
Wednesday 14 October, 6.00pm, St John’s in the City Hall, corner Dixon and Willis Streets, Wellington.