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Interview with Abduweli Ayup (Project Manager at Uyghur Hjelp)

Can you tell us about the founding and mission of Uyghur Hjelp? What inspired its creation?

I organized 7 Uyghur volunteers in September 2016 to preserve and protect the Uyghur language and culture, document human rights violations in the Uyghur homeland, advocate transnational repression, investigate mass internment, and provide humanitarian aid.

The mass arrests, forced assimilation in the Uyghur homeland and students lost their schools in Turkey because of family separation. There were more than 300 hundred students in Turkey who lost contact with their parents and faced losing their studies. We provide humanitarian aid to those students.  We also assist camp victims, their kids, and camp survivors.   

How does Uyghur Hjelp document human rights violations against Uyghurs, and what challenges do you face in this process?

We interview people and collect their stories. They told us what happened to them and their family members since the mass arrests started. We also collect evidence from Chinese social media content and verify those through interviews with the people who are living in the diaspora. We collect the evidence that is leaked to us and sent to us from China.

The challenges were, that Chinese local police tried to silence people using their family members as hostages in China. The Chinese embassy using their staff tries to convince people to come to them, instead of talking to us.

We can’t promise people that they can save their family members from the camps by talking to us, they always ask what can change, can they save their family members from the Chinese prisons if they talk to us and talk to the journalists? They keep asking what happened to their family members, but we can’t tell and answer their questions, what we can do is just send those documents to the United States, and related Human Rights Organizations, but they can’t do anything specific.

What are the most pressing human rights issues currently facing the Uyghur community, both in China and in the diaspora?

  1. Uyghurs’ property, especially their lands being confiscated
  2. Kids are separated from their parents and sent to boarding schools and boarding kindergarten, including my nieces and nephews.
  3. Uyghurs are transferred to the Han-majority provinces as forced laborers.
  4. Uyghur cultural sites, like mosques, shrines, and historical architecture are being demolished.
  5. Uyghur neighborhoods are demolished and they are forced to move to new places where the Han majority is dominant.
  6. Uyghur language is banned from education, health, and public lives and spheres

Could you provide more details on the specific projects Uyghur Hjelp undertakes, such as documenting the Uyghur genocide and preserving Uyghur culture in the diaspora?

In September 2016, I founded Uyghur Hjelp, a non-profit activist organization involved in documenting the Uyghur genocide and supporting educational and humanitarian efforts for the benefit of Uyghurs in the diaspora. My team published 15 books to preserve the Uyghur language.



Uyghur Hjelp documented imprisoned Uyghur mother language teachers, and publishers.

Uyghur Hjelp assisted Uyghurs in mother language education in Istanbul Turkey

Refererences : https://www.rfa.org/uyghur/xewerler/maarip/oqush-yardem-12142017173847.html

Uyghur Hjelp supported Uyghur students in mother language classes in Istanbul Turkey.

Uyghur Hjelp produced audio and videos for Uyghur kids

Uyghur Hjelp on preserving Uyghur culture

Uyghur Hjelp held the Uyghur Culture Festival separately in November 2019 and Mart 2022 for the Uyghur Culture Festival and Uyghur Poetry Festival held in Bergen. (Reference)

Documentation and investigation

From September 2022 Uyghur Hjelp continued its investigation, documentation, advocating, and hamartian aid. We kept conducting interviews with camp survivors, victims, and witnesses. In September 2022, we documented two new camp survivors’ stories, collected five victims’ experiences, and collected some witnesses’ testimonies. Their story was introduced to the media and researchers, they were published by the Economist, BBC, and other media recently. 

Uyghur textbooks and cultural activities

Uyghur Hjelp Published other 4 volumes of the Uyghur Textbook which was published in 2 volumes last year, their audio version was prepared and shared on YouTube.

We are going to publish other volumes and their audio versions gradually.

Uyghur Textbooks, 6 volumes

Mather Language handbook: (Reference)

Uyghur History Camp for Uyghur Teens: (Reference)

Uyghur Hjelp continued its support to students studying in Turkish universities. We have granted 3 PhD and one master’s student so far, the grant will continue this semester as well. With our support 2 PhD and one master’s students graduated in January 2023.

Uyghur Hjelp organized a media workshop with the World Uyghur Congress in Istanbul in February 2024. We trained 17 participants from Turkey and other Central Asian republics. They have started their work against Chinese propaganda in Central Asia. With those activists, we started the Ortlaland project to raise awareness in Russia and Central Asia. The project has already started. (Reference)

Uyghur Hjelp held a spring camp for Uyghur teens from European countries in April 2024. We took them to the Humboldt Museum and introduced Uyghur history. There are 30 students from 10 countries participated in the event.


Uyghur Hjelp continued documenting imprisoned Uyghur intellectuals, investigating hard strake policy against Uyghurs and new trends of detentions in different cities. It started to collect and classify social media information, such as videos,  texts, and government files.

Uyghur Hjlep completed the report about Uyghur Intellectuals, Imams, and female spiritual leaders. Abduweli Ayup and Dr. Racheal Harris finished writing the report, which is going to be released soon. Another project about Uyghur children in the boarding school is ongoing.

Uyghur Hjelp has prepared, edited, and translated biographies for Uyghur intellectuals who were imprisoned in China. We are planning to publish their works in English in the future. (Reference)

Connect with Abduweli Ayup to support his cause : Click Here

About the Organization :

Uyghur Hjelp (also known as Uyghuryar), a non-profit Uyghur human rights advocacy, documentation, and humanitarian aid organization that aims to research human rights violations, document Uyghur detainees, collect information about Uyghur plight, and also support Uyghurs in the diaspora who are encountering with various challenges and the difficulties. This organization is not affiliated with any organizations. All participants of Uyghur Hjelp are passionate, dedicated, and sincere individuals who support this organization by making financial donations and/or by contributing their time and professional skills to help Uyghurs.