UHRP thanks U.S. Senate for passing Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020

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For immediate release

May 14, 2020 4:42 pm EST

Contact: Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) (202) 790-1795, (703) 217-7266

The Uyghur Human Rights Project welcomes Senate passage today of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 by unanimous consent. UHRP urges the House of Representatives to take action quickly, in order for the bill to reach the President’s desk to be signed into law. This represents the first legislative response to the Uyghur human rights crisis, and is an important first step to a more comprehensive policy response. U.S. leadership will help ensure that other nations take similar steps in confronting the Chinese government on its treatment of Uyghurs.

With 68 original co-sponsors, the bill’s passage demonstrates tremendous bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for strong pushback against the atrocities suffered by the Uyghur people. The Senate unanimously approved a previous version of the bill in September 2019, and the US House of Representatives voted 407 to 1 in favor of similar legislation in December 2019.

“The Chinese government’s response to the bill demonstrates that it fears foreign policy measures that might exert a real cost on their own officials,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat.

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 endorses targeted sanctions on culpable Chinese government officials, and creates a mandate for reports on human rights abuses in the Uyghur region and on Chinese government harassment of Uyghurs living inside the United States. This bill “holds the Communist of Party of China accountable for grotesque actions,” said Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), in announcing the bill’s passage.

This is an important milestone in developing a response to the crisis. The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, introduced by Representative McGovern in the House and Senator Rubio in the Senate, is an important next step. China’s massive forced labor transfer program threatens to taint the supply chains of the U.S. and other nations whose laws forbid the importation of products made with forced labor. UHRP encourages Members of the U.S. Congress to co-sponsor the bill, and the elected representatives of other nations to consider a strong policy response to these grave human rights violations.

An unofficial summary of the bill by the UHRP can be found here.

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