Omer Kanat is a Uyghur human rights advocate, Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), and Executive Committee Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC). He co-founded UHRP in 2003 and the World Uyghur Congress in 2004. He has served as Vice President of the World Uyghur Congress since 2006 and Chairman of the WUC Executive Committee since 2017.
Mr. Kanat regularly meets with members of US Congress to brief them on Uyghur human rights and policy responses, and has testified before the Senate Human Rights Caucus and the U.S. Atrocity Early Warning Task Force. He has published op-eds for media outlets including EU Observer, The Diplomat, The Globe Post, The Geopolitics, Bangkok Post, Hong Kong Free Press, Malaysiakini, and Tempo (Indonesia). His comments and interviews have been featured by PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Politico, and Radio Free Asia, among others. His public speaking includes remarks at universities, think tanks, faith-based groups, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Endowment for Democracy.
Before his work as a human rights advocate, he worked for two decades as a broadcast journalist. From 1999 to 2009 Mr. Kanat was Senior Editor at Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, where he covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, edited Uyghur-language news, conducted exclusive interviews with prominent figures in Inner Asia, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and reported on breaking news around the world. Prior to his work at Radio Free Asia, he was Senior Editor at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service.
Office Phone: +1.202.478.1901
Cell Phone: +1.202.790.1795
Mr. Tashken Davlet joined the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) as Outreach Specialist. His past work experience mostly covers the fields of media and nonprofit organizations, with skills in journalism, program producing, multimedia editing, event planning, and translation. He is proficient in Mandarin and also speaks Taiwanese Hokkien. He has a Bachelor's degree from National Tsing Hua University (國立清華大學), majoring in Sociology and minoring in Philosophy.
Director of Global Advocacy
Ms. Louisa Greve is Director of Global Advocacy for the Uyghur Human Rights Project. Previously, Ms. Greve was Vice President for Programs and East Asia Director at the National Endowment for Democracy, with past experience at Special Olympics International, the Corporation for National and Community Service, and the United Nations Development Program. She is an experienced non-profit advisor and an expert on human rights in China, having traveled and worked in China since 1980. Her first visit to East Turkistan was in 1988. She currently also serves as Washington Fellow for CSW, an advocacy group promoting freedom of religion or belief for all peoples and faiths. Ms. Greve has served on the Amnesty International USA board of directors, the Virginia Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, the International Advisory Committee of the Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, and the Liberty's Promise board of directors. She is the author of several book chapters on ethnic issues and human rights in China, and has testified before Congress on democracy in Asia.
Cell Phone: +1.571.882.4825
Senior Program Officer for Advocacy & Communications
Peter Irwin is the Senior Program Officer for Advocacy and Communications at the Uyghur Human Rights Project. He is an MSc graduate of Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), where he conducted research on China's engagement at the UN and its relationship to the framing of the Uyghur issue internationally. He is the former Program Manager and Spokesperson for the World Uyghur Congress, where he worked primarily as the UN representative for Geneva-based human rights mechanisms, as well as with national governments and civil society. As English-language spokesperson, he regularly offered commentary to media including Reuters, Foreign Policy, the New York Times, the Guardian, Deutsche Welle, Süddeutsche Zeitung and South China Morning Post, among others, and has appeared on media outlets such as BBC News World, Al Jazeera and Reuters TV. He has also written original pieces for the Guardian, the Independent, Hong Kong Free Press and the Diplomat.
Cell Phone: +1-646-906-7722
Chinese Outreach Coordinator
Ms. Zubayra Shamseden is Chinese Outreach Coordinator at the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), a documentation and advocacy group based in Washington, DC. She has been campaigning for the human rights and political freedom of the Uyghur people since the late 1980s. She was elected as Vice President of the World Uyghur Congress for the 2021-2024 term and previously chaired its Human Rights Committee. Before joining UHRP, Ms. Shamseden was Information Officer, Researcher and Translator at the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF). She has worked in multicultural education and community liaison for nonprofit, academic and government organizations in Australia and the U.S. for over two decades.
Ms. Shamseden was a 2016-2018 Fellow at the Center for Women, Faith & Leadership (CWFL) of the Institute for Global Engagement's (IGE). She has a bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science from East China Normal University (华东师范大学), in Shanghai; a certification in Chinese from the Industrial University of Xinjiang; a diploma in Russian language and literature from the State University of Eastern Kazakhstan (Восточно-Казахстанский Государственный Университет); and a graduate diploma in Information Studies and a master’s degree in International Studies, both from the University of South Australia, where she focused on the modern history of Uyghur human rights. She is fluent in English, Uyghur, Chinese, Uzbek and Russian, and has a working knowledge of Turkish.
Find UHRP’s Chinese-language site at https://chinese.uhrp.org/
Cell Phone: +1.202.478.1903
Director of Research
Dr. Henryk Szadziewski is Director of Research at the Uyghur Human Rights Project. He holds a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, a M.Sc. (Econ.) in Development Management from the University of Wales, and a B.A. (Hons) in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Leeds. Dr. Szadziewski received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program award to conduct research on grounded responses to the Belt and Road Initiative and has authored numerous peer-reviewed and opinion articles for publications such as Political Geography, Geoforum, Asian Ethnicity, Inner Asia, The Diplomat, Los Angeles Review of Books, and OpenDemocracy. He regularly offers commentary to broadcast, digital, and print media including, The New York Times, PRI, Time, and Foreign Policy. He also serves as a Country of Origin Information Expert on Uyghurs for the Rights in Exile Programme.
Development, Outreach, and Research Officer
Mr. Reece Thompson joined UHRP as Development, Outreach, and Research Officer in October 2021. He has a B.A. in East Asian History from The University of Pittsburgh and an M.Sc. in International Security from Bristol University, where his research focused on the intersection of development and insecurity for ethnic groups as a result of Chinese investment. He worked as a project manager and producer in China for six years prior to joining UHRP and has a background in editing, translation, and localization. He is fluent in Mandarin.
Current Interns & Volunteers
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Norway’s Approach to Human Rights in China: A Conversation with Activists & Stakeholders
Watch the UHRP co-sponsored event examining the role of Norway in the Uyghur crisis.
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