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Risch, Rubio, Menendez Applaud Senate Passage of Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statements after the Senate unanimously approved an amended version of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 (S.3744).

The bill is an important step in countering the totalitarian Chinese government’s widespread and horrific human rights abuses in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, including the mass internment of more than one million Uyghurs and other predominantly ethnic Turkic Muslims, as well as Beijing’s intimidation and threats against U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents on American soil. The senators urge the House to quickly take up the legislation and send it to the president to be signed into law.

“Today’s Senate passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act is an important step in holding the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its severe human rights abuses in Xinjiang,” said Risch. “China’s illegal detainment of at least a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in prison camps is reprehensible and inexcusable. I look forward to the president signing this important legislation into law soon.”

“The Chinese Government and Communist Party’s systematic, ongoing efforts to wipe out the ethnic and cultural identities of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang is horrific and will be a stain on humanity should we refuse to act,” said Rubio. “I thank my Senate colleagues for working together to send a clear message to Chinese officials responsible for egregious human rights abuses committed against the Uyghurs that they will be held accountable. I urge the House to act swiftly so that this important, bipartisan bill can be signed into law without any further delay.”    

“Today’s action by the Senate sends a clear message that the United States will not be distracted and will not stand by as millions of Uyghur Muslims continue to be unjustly imprisoned, subjected to a mass surveillance state, and forced into labor camps by Beijing’s autocratic regime,” said Menendez. “Enactment of this legislation to provide justice for the Uyghur people and others subject to China’s gross violations of human rights and possible crimes against humanity is long overdue. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House as they take action on this legislation as well, and to getting a bill on the president’s desk soon.”

The Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act has 68 cosponsors.