The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act:
A Case Study on Economic Leverage to Advance IRF

IRF Summit Side Event 2022_TD

Date: Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Time: 1:30–1:30 p.m. EDT

Watch Live Here:

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, passed in December of 2021, was a groundbreaking piece of legislation for bringing accountability to perpetrators of modern-day slavery & genocidal crimes. Join us for a discussion with some of the individuals responsible for lobbying for the bill, including grassroots activists, to learn about how the bill came about, and what lessons can be drawn in the further application of the fight for human rights and religious freedom.


Sam Brownback, Former Ambassador-at-Large for IRF

Sam Brownback, in full Samuel Dale Brownback, is an American attorney, politician, diplomat and member of the Republican Party who served as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom from 2018 to 2021. He served as Governor of Kansas from 2011 to 2018. Prior to that he represented his home state in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives. While a member of the Senate, he worked actively on the issue of religious freedom in multiple countries and was a key sponsor of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. Ambassador Brownback currently serves as co-chair for the International Religious Freedom Summit and as a Senior Fellow at Open Doors USA.

Sarah Teich, International Human Rights Lawyer

Sarah Teich is an international human rights lawyer based in Toronto, Canada. She advises various organizations including Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, focusing on helping them to utilize domestic, foreign, and international mechanisms to seek justice and accountability for atrocity crimes and human rights abuses committed by state and non-state actors around the world. Sarah was counsel for URAP at Federal Court vs. the CBSA, and lead counsel on submissions to the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise where they were asked to investigate 14 Canadian companies’ use of Uyghur forced labour.

Michael Sobolik, Fellow in Indo-Pacific Studies, AFPC

Michael Sobolik joined AFPC as a Fellow in Indo-Pacific Studies in September 2019. His work covers American and Chinese grand strategy, regional economic and security trends, America’s alliance architecture in Asia, and human rights. Michael also serves as editor of AFPC’s Indo-Pacific Monitor e-bulletin, AFPC’s review of developments in the region. Prior to joining AFPC, Michael served as a Legislative Assistant in the United States Senate from 2014 to 2019. While in the Senate, Michael drafted legislation on China, Russia, India, Taiwan, North Korea, and Cambodia, as well as strategic systems and missile defense. 

Haley Byrd-Wilt, Associate Editor, The Dispatch

Haley Byrd-Wilt is an associate editor for The Dispatch, where she writes a newsletter about Congress. She recently wrote a story documenting the process of passing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. She previously reported on Congress for CNN and The Weekly Standard.

Babur Ilchi, Program Director, Campaign for Uyghurs

Babur Ilchi is the Program Director at the Campaign for Uyghurs, an organization on the steering committee of the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour. After his graduation from the University of Calgary, Babur worked as a digital marketing specialist at another nonprofit for post-secondary students. Born in Hotan, Babur is an Uyghur. An activist and advocate for his people, he has found this to be a deeply personal calling. Babur is also a host of the podcast Tarim Talks through the Tarim Network, interviewing people across the diaspora and sharing their knowledge with Uyghurs around the world.

Jewher Ilham, Forced Labor Project Coordinator, Worker Rights Consortium

Jewher Ilham is an author and an advocate for the Uyghur community and for her imprisoned father, Uyghur economist Ilham Tohti. Jewher has testified before the U.S. Congressional-Executive Committee on China, published op-eds in The New York Times, CNN and the Guardian, and received numerous international awards on behalf of her father. In 2015, she recounted her experiences in her first book,1Jewher Ilham: A Uyghur’s Fight to Free Her Father while her second book2Because I Have To: The Path to Survival, the Uyghur Struggle has been released in the spring of 2022. Jewher currently works at the Worker Rights Consortium as Forced Labor Project Coordinator and serves as a spokesperson for the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour. She is also assisting in the production of a documentary film3Static and Noise about Uyghurs. 

Watch the recorded video of the event:


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