60 groups urge passage of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

US Senate

May 26, 2021

The Honorable Bob Menendez
Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
423 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable James Risch
Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
423 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Menendez and Ranking Member Risch,

We are writing to urge you to discharge S.65, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, from committee this work period so it may move through the Senate. The bill already has 49 cosponsors from both parties, making it one of the most broadly supported and bipartisan foreign policy bills before the Senate. As you know, repression of religion in China has reached new lows under the rule of Communist Party Secretary and President Xi Jinping. The situation for Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) is dire, and the need for action from Congress on S.65 is urgent. The so-called “re-education” campaign waged against Uyghurs and other groups has systematically imprisoned more than one million men, women, and children. Survivors have described, and researchers have substantiated, serious atrocities throughout the extensive network of prisons and extrajudicial detention centers, including rape, forced sterilization, forced abortion, forced labor, and torture.

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act is necessary because it would ensure Americans are not complicit in these crimes – which both the Trump and Biden Administrations have declared genocide. By prohibiting the importation of goods from XUAR unless U.S. Customs and Border Protection can certify that the goods have not been made with forced labor, the burden of proof will fall on the importers to show their compliance with existing U.S. law. S.65 would also impose targeted sanctions against each foreign person found to be responsible for labor trafficking of Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic groups, and require the U.S. government to develop a strategy to address forced labor in the Uyghur Region.

Swift passage of S.65 is also particularly important because it would impose economic pressure on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), an important point of leverage given that the Chinese economy is heavily dependent on exports and since the CCP often uses its economic power to silence other countries and private businesses from speaking out on human rights violations in China.

We appreciate your leadership on human rights issues and urge you to discharge this bill from committee so it can be passed by the full Senate, passed in the House, and signed into law without delay.

Sincerely,

  1. Freedom House
  2. Uyghur American Association
  3. Uyghur Human Rights Project
  4. Adrian Dominican Sisters, Portfolio Advisory Board
  5. Australian East Turkistan Association
  6. Australian Uyghur Tangritagh Women’s Association
  7. Belgium Uyghur Association
  8. Boston Uyghur Association
  9. Campaign For Uyghurs
  10. China Against the Death Penalty
  11. China Aid Association
  12. Citizen Power Initiatives for China
  13. Congregation of St. Joseph
  14. Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention
  15. Dana Investment Advisors
  16. Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
  17. Detroit Jewish Community Relations Council/American Jewish Committee (JCRC/AJC)
  18. Dutch Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation
  19. East Turkistan Association of Canada
  20. East Turkistan Education and Solidarity Association
  21. East Turkistan Foundation
  22. East Turkistan Human Rights Observatory Center
  23. East Turkistan Union in Europe
  24. Figure 8 Investment Strategies
  25. Heartland Initiative
  26. Hong Kong Democracy Council (HKDC)
  27. Hong Kong Global Connect
  28. Human Rights Foundation
  29. Humanitarian China
  30. ICNA Council for Social Justice
  31. International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC)
  32. Isa Yusuf Alptekin Foundation
  33. Japan Uyghur Association
  34. Jewish Movement for Uyghur Freedom
  35. Jewish World Watch
  36. Justice For All- Save Uighur Campaign
  37. Mercy Investment Services, Inc.
  38. Minaret Foundation
  39. Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
  40. Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment
  41. Norwegian Uyghur Committee
  42. Nozugum Foundation
  43. Nurgul Sawut
  44. Office for Human Dignity- Diocese of Joliet
  45. Presentation Sisters of Aberdeen SD
  46. Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth
  47. Sisters of Mary Reparatrix
  48. STAND: The student-led movement to end mass atrocities
  49. Sweden Uyghur Education Union
  50. Switzerland Uyghur Association
  51. UK Uighur Association
  52. United Macedonian Diaspora
  53. Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Center
  54. Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project
  55. Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, Canada
  56. Uyghur Transitional Justice Database
  57. Victoria Uyghur Association
  58. Visual Artists Guild
  59. World Uyghur Congress
  60. 21Wilberforce
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