According to an international group of religious leaders from various faiths, China’s Uighurs (also spelled Uyghurs) are facing a genocidal threat comparable to the Holocaust.

A written statement by a group of more than 70 prominent clerics was made public on August 8 and reported by The Guardian and The Jewish Chronicle. The Guardian quoted the religious leaders as calling violations of the Muslim minority's human rights in northeastern China “one of the most egregious human tragedies since the Holocaust.”

The suffering of Uighurs Compared to Holocaust

The Jewish Chronicle observed that "The text compares the repression...

to the Holocaust." The Guardian and The Jewish Chronicle quoted the statement as asserting, "The clear aim of the Chinese authorities is to eradicate the Uighur identity." The Jewish Chronicle noted that 20 British rabbis signed the written appeal for immediate action to stop what they called “the potential genocide" in the People's Republic of China.

The Guardian quoted the statement and the Jewish Chronicle as stressing: "After the Holocaust, the world said 'Never Again.' Today, we repeat those words 'Never Again' all over again."

The signatories were Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger and Senior Sephardi Rabbi Joseph Dweck, The Jewish Chronicle noted.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and the representative of the Dalai Lama in Europe also signed the statement, The Guardian said.

Uighurs Reportedly Sterilized Without Consent

According to both newspapers, the religious leaders referred to reports that Uighur women had been forcibly sterilized. The Jewish Chronicle quoted the leaders as saying the sterilizations could be an act of genocide according to the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The Guardian said there was evidence of "other methods of population reduction" besides involuntary sterilization.

Uighurs in 'Re-Education Camps'

The Guardian noted that there were reportedly a million people - mostly Uighurs - in what the Chinese government labeled as "re-education camps." The newspaper recalled that Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom Liu Xiaoming had recently said reports of Uighurs in concentration camps were fabrications.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab had responded by reiterating accusations of serious human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government against the Uighur people. According to The Guardian, Raab said people had to keep in mind the legal definition of genocide before making accusations against the Chinese government.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, former British chief rabbi, voiced his support for the Uighur people in a Tweet, which was quoted in The Guardian. The rabbi said the treatment of the Uighurs was “a moral outrage, a political scandal and a desecration of faith itself,” according to the newspaper.