Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act Advances in US Senate

Senate Foreign Relations Committee

June 24, 2021 12:40 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 the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (S.65) by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and urges swift passage in the full Senate as well as in the House. The bill was passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in April. 

The bill would create the presumption that all imports from the Uyghur Region are in violation of U.S. laws prohibiting the import of forced-labor goods, unless the importer can show that the goods were not produced with forced labor.

“UHRP thanks Chairman Menendez, Ranking Member Risch, Senator Rubio, Senator Merkley and all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for this bipartisan action,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “It has been more than a year since the bill was introduced. Now is the time to enact it into law.”

In Congressional testimony in October 2019, UHRP Board Chair Nury Turkel called for legislation to address pervasive forced labor of Uyghurs in global supply chains. 

“The Senate’s action puts a spotlight on both the corporate sector and the U.S. government,” Turkel said today. “Any and all business ties with the Uyghur Region risk complicity with genocide. This has to end.” 

In remarks today, Senator Risch called out the Chinese government’s “atrocities” as “detestable,” and Senator Cardin said the Senate must address the Uyghur crisis as “a global human rights emergency.” Senator Cruz noted the “deepening bipartisan consensus” that products from the Uyghur Region are made under conditions of “slavery.”

The bill additionally requires the President to impose targeted Global Magnitsky sanctions on those responsible for “serious human rights abuses in connection with forced labor” and to report to Congress on its diplomatic strategy to enhance bilateral and multilateral coordination to address the crisis.

This is the second major piece of U.S. legislation to address the Uyghur human rights crisis. The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, enacted in June 2020, was the first legislative action anywhere in the world to address the atrocities.

Read more:

UHRP praises European Parliament resolution, urges strong collective action against Uyghur forced labor, December 17, 2020

UHRP hails action to end import of cotton products from Chinese paramilitary conglomerate in the Uyghur Region, December 2, 2020

Uyghur organizations call on the ILO to denounce Uyghur forced labor, November 10, 2020

UHRP praises further Congressional action against Uyghur forced labor, October 1, 2020

Uyghurs hail action by U.S. Congress on China’s forced labor, worst since WWII, September 22, 2020

Congressional Testimony of Nury Turkel, UHRP Board Chairman, on Forced Labor, Mass Internment, and Social Control in Xinjiang, October 17, 2019 

Featured Video

China’s Persecution of Uyghur Imams: New Evidence of Imprisonment and Detention

Watch the UHRP event with guests discussing our most recent report, Islam Dispossessed: China’s Persecution of Uyghur Imams and Religious Figures
Play Video