A medico group has been honored at the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for their efforts exposing the killing of prisoners of conscience for their bodily organs in China.
The U.S. based Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting (DAFOH) were given an award at the annual Mother Teresa Memorial Awards for Social Justice event held in Mumbai on Nov. 3.
DAFOH founder Dr. Torsten Trey accepted the award for his group’s efforts which began after he learnt in 2006 how imprisoned Falun Gong practitioners were being killed for their organs by the Chinese state.
“It was horrible. I was shaken and felt the need to do something. It was then that I came up with DAFOH. I received tremendous support from the medical community,” Trey told The Hindu.
DAFOH has twice been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016 and 2017.
Large numbers of Chinese who adhere to the Buddha-school meditation practice of Falun Gong have been subjected to harsh persecution by the communist state since 1999. Researchers say since that date they have observed a large increase in the number of transplants carried out in China.
“The [Chinese] government says that around 10,000-15,000 organ transplants occur every year,” Trey said. “However, according to a team of on-field researchers, the number is as high as 60,000. Meanwhile, the estimate for legal organ donations in the country is as less as 130 in six years.”
The figures Trey was referring to were based on a 2016 report by researchers that attracted media attention and increased awareness on how China’s transplant industry functions.
DAFOH is honored to be chosen to receive a prestigious Mother Teresa Memorial Award 2019, for raising awareness and sensitizing both the global medical community and the public about #ForcedOrganHarvesting and genocide in China. pic.twitter.com/ugiLHmxdem— DAFOH (@DAFOH_org) 5 November 2019
Trey told The Hindu that the world’s people should be speaking out more against organ harvesting in China.
“It should concern you as a citizen of the world. If we just sit and watch it happen, saying it’s not my country, we are all being complicit in the crime,” he said. “We need a shift in our thinking. We should discuss it and create awareness to bring about a change.”
Other people honored by the Mother Teresa Memorial Awards included Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, founder of the Bachpan Bachao Andolan which fights child labor; Hasina Khabhih, founder of NGO Impulse which rescues Yazidi women from the so-called Islamic State and Rob Williams from War Child, U.K. which supports children rescued from armed groups.
The Mother Teresa Memorial Awards was established by the Mumbai-based Harmony Foundation in 2005 as an “honor to individuals or organizations who aim to promote peace, harmony and social justice.”
In tandem with the award the foundation also held a conference that focused on the theme of human trafficking and slavery, which Trey also spoke at.
The Mother Teresa Memorial Awards award for DAFOH follows an independent tribunal into organ harvesting in China conducted in London. The so-called China Tribunal was chaired by former international war crimes prosecutor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC.
In its findings delivered in June, the tribunal found that “forced organ harvesting has been committed for years throughout China on a significant scale.”
Hamid Sabi, a senior lawyer, who is a member of the tribunal, told the U.N. Human Rights Council in September that it and U.N. member states are legally obligated to address the killing of innocent people for their organs in China.
Along with Falun Gong practitioners, Sabi also said that Uyghurs were being killed for their organs.
Watch this video below about the China Tribunal’s findings.