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May 14, 2020
As China continues its brutal repression of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan, what China calls Xinjiang, the US Senate just held a session in which they unanimously passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act. Senator Marco Rubio tweeted earlier that “moments ago we passed our Uyghur human rights bill in the Senate which holds the Communist Party of China accountable for grotesque actions.”
“The Uyghur people have been anxiously waiting on the US Congress to pass a Uyghur Act for over a decade, especially since the building of concentration camps starting in 2016.” said Salih Hudayar, the recently elected Prime Minister of the East Turkistan Government in Exile and Founder of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement. “We have high hopes that this bill will help to alleviate if not end China’s oppression of East Turkistan’s people.”
The East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM) has been pushing for a Uyghur Act since June 4, 2018 and has organized numerous demonstrations, events, and lobbying days to apply pressure on Congress to pass the Uyghur bill. It was in June 2018 that ETNAM discovered that a Uyghur Act had been previously considered by the US Congress in 2009 but it was sabotaged by what many suspect to be agents of China.
On December 3, 2019, the US House of Representatives passed the Uyghur human rights bill with an overwhelming majority of 408 against 1. The bill would call for tough sanctions on China over its Uyghur concentration camps. China later announced it released Uyghurs from the “vocational training centers” which many human rights groups and lawmakers have called concentration camps. However, there was no confirmation of detainees being released, in fact numerous reports emerged stating that some Uyghurs were being transferred to prisons while others were being transferred to Chinese provinces for forced labor.
“China continues to intern millions of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic peoples in concentration camps and prisons,” Hudayar said. “Tens of thousands of Turkic people are being transferred into Chinese provinces for slave labor, while tens of thousands of Chinese are being brought into to colonize East Turkistan.”
While the world remains largely silent on the East Turkistan / Uyghur oppression, the East Turkistan Government in Exile and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement hopes that passage of this bill will encourage other countries to follow suit and pass similar bills to push back against China’s persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.
ETNAM thanks everyone who was involved in advocating for this bill, including the 108,000+ East Turkistanis and supporters from across the world that signed onto a petition to the White House urging the US government to prevent a 21st century Holocaust in East Turkistan. We especially thank Senator Rubio and all the members of the US Congress who supported this bill along with the thousands of East Turkistanis and supporters who attended our countless demonstrations, events, and advocacy days on Capitol Hill to push for this bill.