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International campaign launched to nominate Uyghur academic for Nobel Peace Prize

A committee was formed in Belgium to gather international support for the nomination of imprisoned Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize. More than 200 senior politicians and academics supported it.

A committee has been formed in Belgium to gather international support for the nomination of Uighur academic Ilham Tohti, who has been unjustly imprisoned for over a decade, for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize. The committee includes Enver Can, founding president of the Ilham Tohti Initiative; Cevher ilham, Ilham Tohti’s human rights activist daughter; Vanessa Frangville, professor at the Free University of Brussels; and Belgian MP Samuel Cogolati.

On December 11, 2023, the four main members of the committee held a press conference in Belgium and on the same day submitted to the Belgian parliament Ilham Tohti’s nomination for the 2024 Nebel Peace Prize for his role as a “true symbol of the Uyghur people’s struggle for freedom” under Chinese oppression.

The campaign, initiated by Enver Can, is actively gathering support until January 31st to strengthen Ilham Tohti’s candidacy for the Nobel Peace Prize at the international level.


This campaign is again heavily supported by the initiative of Enver Can and the support of Mr. Omer Kul from Istanbul University. So far, more than 200 senior politicians and academics have nominated Ilham Tohti for the 2024 Nobel Peace Prize or declared their support.

Among the more than 200 people supporting Tohti’s nomination are ministers, parliamentarians, university presidents and professors from countries such as Belgium, Canada, USA, Japan, France, Rwanda, Australia, Congo, Ireland and Paraguay, as well as 62 people from Turkey. This number is expected to increase in the coming days.


Tohti’s nomination aims to draw attention to China’s brutal repression and genocide of Uyghurs and to increase international pressure on Beijing to stop it.

“Winning this prestigious award for Ilham Tohti, who sacrificed himself for the freedom and rights of his people, will once again underline the recognition of his just Uyghur struggle in the world community,” said Enver Can.

“It is our moral and political duty to defend the rights of the Uyghur people,” said MP Samuel Cogolati. According to China expert Vanessa Frangville, Tohti’s imprisonment was the beginning of a widespread campaign of arrests and illegal detentions in East Turkestan.

“Since my father’s arrest, the situation of Uyghurs has steadily deteriorated,” warned Javher Ilham, who lives in Washington and has not heard from his father since 2017.


As is well known, Ilham Tohti is a researcher and academic who dared to raise his voice against the violations of the rights of Uyghurs in China and worked for the restoration of the rights of Uyghurs through legal means and dialogue. However, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2014 on the trumped-up charge of “separatism”, despite his efforts to solve the problems faced by Uyghurs through completely legal means.

Ilham Tohti has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize every year since 2018 by scholars and members of parliament from many countries, including the European Union, the United States and Turkey. He has been nominated for the last five years and has been selected at least twice as one of the final five candidates out of more than 300 others.

Since his imprisonment, Ilham Tohti has received at least 10 international awards, including the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for defenders of human rights and freedom of expression, which he won in 2019, and the Vaclav Havel Human Rights Award from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.

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