UHRP Supports U.S. Bill to Create Special Coordinator to Address Uyghur Crisis

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September 30, 2021, 6:30 p.m. EDT
For Immediate Release
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) is encouraged by today’s approval of a strengthened Uyghur Policy Act of 2021 (H.R.4785) in the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee.

“This legislation is essential to coordinate a whole-of-government approach, to respond to the Uyghur crisis,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat.

The bill would create a new position within the U.S. government, a Special Coordinator for Uyghur Issues, to coordinate policies, programs, and projects related to Uyghurs, and to support enhanced diplomatic efforts on the Uyghur issue. The bill supports the creation of a UN Special Rapporteur or Working Group to monitor and report on the situation in East Turkistan.

UHRP thanks Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) for introducing the bill and for her unflagging efforts to counter the Uyghur crisis with bipartisan support. Speaking in support of the amendment, she said, “The PRC continues to carry out a state-sponsored genocide against the Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, and intimidates the rest of the world into silence. We must implement policies that will apply . . . pressure on the PRC for its human rights abuses and crimes against humanity.” 

UHRP also thanks Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) for cosponsoring the bill and for convening several hearings on the Uyghur crisis as Chair of the Asia Subcommittee. Given strong bipartisan support from 40 other cosponsors, UHRP urges the Congress to pass the bill without delay.

During the markup hearing, Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA) said, in support of the amendment, “I have taken every opportunity to stand up for the fundamental rights and dignity of the Uyghur people, who have been targeted for their faith and ethnicity. I do so out of solidarity with constituents of mine whose family members have been targeted and detained. We often use the phrase ‘Never Again’ when reflecting on the darkest moments of the past. That phrase only has meaning if we act now.” 

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) said, “I want to express my strong support for the Uyghur Policy Act of 2021. This legislation reiterates strong Congressional support for the oppressed people of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and supplements both the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, passed in the last Congress, and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. It is important that we call what the government of the People’s Republic of China under Secretary Xi Jinping is doing by what it is, and that is genocide. The bill does just that.”

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) noted that the bill “will build on these declarations by providing a framework for our efforts to bring an end to the atrocities. If we do not stand up today against this genocide, we’ll be judged harshly by the next generation, who will have to live in a world where the CCP has normalized crimes against humanity.”

Read more:

UHRP Hails Unanimous Senate Passage of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, Jul 15, 2021

60 groups urge passage of Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, May 27, 2021

UHRP welcomes Senate legislation to support safe haven for Uyghurs abroad, April 13, 2021

UHRP welcomes House bill to provide Uyghurs safe haven, March 9, 2021