FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2020
USCIRF Welcomes Passage of Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act in House of Representatives
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commends the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (S.3744) in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent on May 14.
“USCIRF thanks Representatives Smith, McGovern, and Sherman and Senators Rubio and Menendez for their bipartisan, bicameral leadership on this bill, as well as all the Members of Congress who supported it,” noted USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “We urge President Trump to sign the bill into law as soon as possible.”
Once signed by the president, the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act would make U.S. concerns about the persecution of Uyghurs part of official U.S. policy toward China. It would direct the administration to impose financial sanctions and visa bans under the Global Magnitsky Act against Chinese government officials responsible for the persecution of Uyghur and other Muslims. In addition, the bill would require the State Department to report on human rights abuses in Xinjiang—including formal estimates of the number of individuals detained in concentration camps—and the FBI to submit a report to Congress on attempts by Chinese government agents to intimidate and harass Uyghurs and Chinese nationals legally residing in the United States.
“The world has stood by for too long as the Chinese government detained millions of Muslims in concentration camps,” USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel added. “The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act would be the first major legislation focused on promoting the rights of Uyghur and other Muslims. Hopefully, other countries will follow the U.S. government’s lead and take action on this issue.”
In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF called upon the administration to use its authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and the International Religious Freedom Act to impose targeted sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for severe religious freedom violations, especially Chen Quanguo, the current Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang. In February 2020, USCIRF released a factsheet explaining how the Chinese government’s new Administrative Measures for Religious Groups could further restrict religious freedom.
USCIRF also has called for the release of Gulmira Imin, a Uyghur activist and one of USCIRF’s Religious Prisoners of Conscience, and all other Muslims detained by Chinese authorities because of their religious affiliation.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at email@example.com or Danielle Ashbahian at firstname.lastname@example.org.