Uyghur camp survivor’s testimony heard by US House Foreign Affairs Committee

Tursunay_2021-05-08

Uyghur Human Rights Project
For Immediate Release
May 7, 2021 1:50 pm EDT
Contact: Louisa Greve +1 (571) 882-4825, Omer Kanat +1 (202) 790-1795

UHRP commends the House Committee on Foreign Affairs for holding an important May 6 hearing on the ongoing human rights crisis in East Turkistan. UHRP is grateful to Chairman Gregory W. Meeks and Ranking Member Michael McCaul for leading this bipartisan effort to conduct fact-finding and examine the need for further Congressional policy responses. 

Camp survivor Tursunay Ziyawudun gave testimony for the first time before elected officials. She told the Committee, “I must speak up, as a survivor, for all those who have not survived. I am not asking for sympathy for myself, I am asking governments around the world to wake up. The world should not allow genocide to continue in the 21st century.” 

“Uyghurs around the world take hope that Tursunay’s testimony will spur Congress to quickly pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act and the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. 

“The Chinese government claims that everything is fine for Uyghurs,” he continued. “Congress heard testimony from survivor Mihrigul Tursun more than 2 years ago. Now Tursunay has confirmed again that the atrocities are real.” 

In his testimony before the Committee, UHRP Board Chair Nury Turkel highlighted a new phase in the Chinese government’s genocidal policy against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim peoples, saying, “genocide denial is in full swing. The Chinese government is not only implementing a brutal policy, . . . it is claiming that it deserves praise for helping Uyghurs to live ‘a happy life’.” 

Professor James Millward, an expert on the history of the Uyghur Region, detailed the Chinese governments dehumanizing ethnic policies, including the “Sinicization of religion” campaign launched by CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping.

UHRP thanks all the Committee members for their close attention and support for further policy action on a bipartisan basis, including Representatives Chris Smith, Brad Sherman, Ami Bera, Gerald Connelly, Ted Deutsch, Steve Chabot, Tim Burchett, Dina Titus, Andy Barr, Tom Malinowski, Greg Steube, Susan Wild, August Pfluger, David Cicilline, Young Kim, Dean Phillips, Andy Levin, Kathy Manning, and Ilhan Omar.

The full hearing can also be viewed here.

Read more:

Testimony of Mihrigul Tursun, December 18, 2018

UHRP Report: “The Happiest Muslims in the World”: Disinformation, Propaganda, and the Uyghur Crisis, July 28, 2020

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

USCIRF calls for international response to atrocities against Uyghurs, April 21, 2021

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