Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act of 2021 (H.R.1630/S.1080) 

The Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act (H.R.1630 and S.1080) would designate Uyghurs as Priority 2 (P-2) Refugees. The bill was introduced in the House by Representatives Ted Deutch (D), Mario Diaz-Balart (R), Jennifer Wexton (D), and Chris Smith (R) on March 8, 2021, and in the Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D), Marco Rubio (R), Jeff Merkley (D), and Thom Tillis (R) on April 23, 2021.

This bill designates Uyghurs as prioritized refugees of special humanitarian concern, making them eligible for Priority Two (P-2) processing under the refugee resettlement priority system. The P-2 designation enables refugees to access the U.S. refugee program without a referral from the UNHCR, an embassy, or an NGO. Examples include Iraqis associated with the United States and certain religious refugees from the former Soviet Union.

The legislation:

  • Finds that more than 1,000,000 Uyghurs and other Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in Chinese government detention facilities and internment camps in poor conditions; that Uyghurs are subjected to state-organized forced labor; that parents and children are separated; that these and other findings constitute “crimes against humanity;” and that the Chinese government actions against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other predominantly Muslim groups violate international human rights laws and norms, including the Genocide Convention. 
  • Mandates that the P-2 designation shall apply to individuals (and the spouses, children, and parents of such individuals) who  have suffered persecution on account of their peaceful political, religious, or cultural activities or associations, or have a well-founded fear of such persecution. 
  • Makes it the policy of the United States to encourage allies and partners to make similar accommodations for Uyghurs.