Passage of Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act

On May 14, the United States Senate unanimously passed the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, a landmark bill that holds the Chinese Communist Party responsible for the mass internment and persecution of Uyghurs. This legislation also “endorses targeted sanctions on culpable Chinese government officials, and creates a mandate for reports on human rights abuses in the Uyghur region and on Chinese government harassment of Uyghurs living inside the United States.”

The passage of this Act follows in the footsteps of House of Representatives’ Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2019, which was passed in mid-December and which mandates the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to report on issues such as the expansion of surveillance technology capabilities used to target and detain Uyghurs, and the repatriation of Turkic Muslims to China by various governments around the world; the Federal Bureau of Investigation to report on its actions taken to protect Chinese citizens and Uyghurs living in the United States from harassment and pressure from the Chinese government; and the Department of State to report on the severity of conditions in these Uyghur detention camps, including the use of forced labor and surveillance as means of control.

This Act is also hopefully a preface to the passage of the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio in the Senate and Representative Jim McGovern in the House of Representatives. Such a bill would call on American businesses to cease its use of products and materials that are a result of the forced labor of Uyghurs in detention camps.

Such bipartisanship on the issue of Uyghur persecution displays the growing awareness and disapproval of the mass human rights violations occurring at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party towards ethnic and religious minorities, as well as promotes increasing cooperation within the United States government in regards to the human rights sector.