On June 17, U.S. President Donald Trump signed into law a legislation that condemns the gross human rights violations and authorizes the imposition of U.S. sanctions against Chinese officials responsible for the detention and persecution of Uyghur minority groups in China’s Xinjiang.
The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020, is now the first law anywhere in the world to address the human rights crisis in East Turkistan.
“The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, 2020 holds accountable the perpetrators of human rights violations and abuses such as the systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labour and intrusive surveillance to eradicate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uyghurs and other minorities in China”, Trump said.
“Uyghurs around the world are celebrating,” said Omer Kanat, Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) Executive Director.
“It’s the kind of news we have been waiting for, more than three years into the Uyghur crisis. But the United States cannot be the sole nation acting to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes. Uyghurs call on countries around the world to work together against ethno-religious persecution, profiling and cultural genocide,” he said.
The law represents a broad bipartisan commitment by the U.S. government to address one of the worst ongoing human rights crisis in the world.
In her speech supporting House approval on May 27, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) said, “Beijing’s barbarous actions targeting the Uyghur people are an outrage to the collective conscience of the world.”
Applauding the bill’s passage, Senator Marco Rubio (R) stated “For far too long, the Chinese Communist Party has tried to systematically wipe out the ethnic and cultural identities of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims. It’s long overdue to hold the perpetrators accountable.”
Democratic countries around the world must work together to take action on accountability for the Chinese government.
The U.S. Congress should also move quickly to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, to counter the rapidly increasing threat of such products illegally entering the U.S. market. This legislation requires sanctions on officials and companies responsible for Uyghur forced labor, and shifts the burden of proof to importers, which must provide “clear and convincing” evidence that imported goods from East Turkistan are free from forced labor.