Congress: Pass the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act (H.R.1630/S.1080)

Tell Congress: pass the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act of 2021 (H.R.1630/S.1080)

People belonging to ethnic, cultural, and religious groups in northwestern China, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Hui, are currently the target of the largest organized detention of an ethno-religious minority the world has seen since World War II. Since 2017, over one million have been detained. Detainees are made to work under constant surveillance, with assigned minders and no freedom to leave. Their forced labor contributes to the production of goods for numerous multinationals.

In December, President Joe Biden signed into law the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. However, the U.S. government needs to do more. The Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act is crucial to the U.S. government's comprehensive support for the Uyghurs.

The Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act (H.R.1630 and S.1080) would designate Uyghurs as Priority 2 (P-2) Refugees. This bipartisan bill was introduced in the House by Representatives by Ted Deutch (D), Mario Diaz-Balart (R), Jennifer Wexton (D), and Chris Smith (R), and in the Senate by Senators Chris Coons (D), Marco Rubio (R), Jeff Merkley (D), and Thom Tillis (R).

This bill designates Uyghurs as prioritized refugees of special humanitarian concern, making them eligible for Priority Two (P-2) processing under the refugee resettlement priority system. The P-2 designation enables refugees to access the U.S. refugee program without a referral from the UN High Commission for Refugees, an embassy, or an NGO. Examples include Iraqis associated with the United States and certain religious refugees from the former Soviet Union.

The legislation:

  • Finds that more than 1,000,000 Uyghurs and other Muslims have been arbitrarily detained in Chinese government detention facilities and internment camps in poor conditions; that Uyghurs are subjected to state-organized forced labor; that parents and children are separated; that these and other findings constitute “crimes against humanity;” and that the Chinese government actions against Uyghurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other predominantly Muslim groups violate international human rights laws and norms, including the Genocide Convention.
  • Mandates that the P-2 designation shall apply to individuals (and the spouses, children, and parents of such individuals) who have suffered persecution on account of their peaceful political, religious, or cultural activities or associations, or have a well-founded fear of such persecution.
  • Makes it the policy of the United States to encourage allies and partners to make similar accommodations for Uyghurs
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