• A Roundtable Discussion on the Current Opportunities and Possibilities in the East Turkistan Case was held in Netherlands.
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Camps must shut down due to virus

by Bengisu Çiçek

As the COVID-19 virus has escalated and hit many parts of the world, it has affected countless communities. One community in particular that the virus has a massive effect on is the incarcerated community.

There are many camps and detention facilities around the world, the closest to us being the Northwest Detention Center. There are also concentration camps within East Turkestan, renamed Xinjiang by the Chinese Communist Party, which has an estimate of 1 million detainees.

This pandemic has made it so everyone is advised and issued to stay home and practice social distancing. This is where detainees are at high risk. The camps in China are in huge public safety and health violations. The number of people crammed into one jail cell and having no access to necessities is dangerous.

In the Washington Post, a testimony by Mihrigul Tursun explained how she was unable to shower and change her clothes for months, and that she and other women would have to use the bathroom in a bucket while guards watched. There was a report of 60 women in the crowded jail cell, where they would also have to swallow unknown medication given to them.

The conditions of the Northwest Detention Center are at high risk too.

“Whatever you think about criminal justice reform in the long term, detention and congregation of people in institutional settings is dangerous right now. It’s dangerous for people detained. It’s dangerous for the staff. It’s dangerous for the community who interact with the staff,” said Wendy Parmet, professor of Law and Public health at Northeastern University, in the LA Times.

The detainees need to be reunited with their family members, as the whole world is now taking extra precautions and safety measures. The virus can rapidly spread just through direct contact. Government officials must take this into consideration and put a stop to these camps and detention facilities. The safety of everyone is much more important than politics. For a healthier future, social distancing and self-isolation in homes must be practiced, not in crammed jail cells that hold 60 people.

Source: Newspaper of The University of Washington Tacoma, http://thetacomaledger.com/

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