Today, on Sept 11, 2019, the US Senate has passed the “Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019”, a bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Marco Rubio and Bob Menendez. The senators introduced the bill to condemn the gross human rights violations of ethnic Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang (AKA East Turkistan), and calling for an end to arbitrary detention, torture, and harassment of these minorities inside and outside China.
Applauding the Senate’s passage of the bill, Senator Marco Rubio said: “It’s long overdue for the United States to hold Chinese government and Communist Party officials accountable for the systemic and egregious human rights abuses and probable crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, including the internment in ‘political re-education’ camps of more than one million Uyghurs and Muslim minorities.” He also urged the House to swiftly pass this legislation and send it to the President’s desk.
“I am pleased that the Senate has taken action today to pass this important piece of legislation,” Senator Menendez said. “This legislation makes clear that Congress will not turn a blind eye as millions of Uyghur Muslims are unjustly imprisoned, subjected to a mass surveillance state, and forced into labor camps by an autocratic regime. And while the Trump Administration has not seen fit to make the tragic situation in Xinjiang a priority, I am happy to see Congress is taking the necessary steps to hold accountable officials in the Chinese government and Communist Party responsible for gross violations of human rights and possible crimes against humanity.”
Tweet from U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)
Uighurs around the world welcomed the US Senate’s passage of Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. Tahir Imin, a Uighur activist and scholar based in Washington D.C. tweeted his gratitude and thanks to the Senators and the American people.
The legislation mainly addresses the Chinese government’s horrific human rights violations in Xinjiang (AKA East Turkistan), including the mass internment of more than three million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, as well as Beijing’s intimidation and threats against U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR) (including Uyghurs) from Chinese government harassment and intimidation on American soil.
The legislation also urges high-level U.S. engagement on this issue, the application of Global Magnitsky and related sanctions, the full implementation of the Frank R. Wolf International Religious Freedom Act, a review of Commerce Department export controls and end user restrictions and the establishment of a voluntary database whereby U.S. citizens and LPRs can provide information regarding missing/detained family members with a view toward pressing for accountability.
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