Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) congratulates Nury Turkel’s unanimous election to the Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for 2022-2023. The first Uyghur American appointed to the Commission by House Leader Nancy Pelosi in May 2020, Chair Turkel served as a Commissioner and was reappointed to the Commission in 2022 as Vice-Chair. In addition to serving as the chairman of the board of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), he is also a senior fellow at Hudson Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
This announcement takes place on the same day that Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), the first legislation addressing Uyghur forced labor, comes into effect.
“I am truly honored to be elected as Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom and privileged to lead the Commission as we work towards addressing threats to freedom of religion and belief around the world – a fundamental human right,” USCIRF Chair Turkel stated. “This bipartisan group of USCIRF Commissioners brings a range of complementary experiences and shared commitment to the promotion of religious freedom of all faiths, including those who choose not to practice a belief. I look forward to working with Vice Chair Cooper and my fellow Commissioners in urging the White House, State Department, and Congress to implement USCIRF’s policy recommendations.”
Executive Director Rushan Abbas said “I am delighted to learn that my long-time friend Nury Turkel has been unanimously elected to serve as the Chair of USCIRF, given his expertise in international affairs and human rights, he will be a tremendous asset to both USCIRF and the mission of protecting religious freedom and Uyghurs are very proud of him.”
A respected figure in the Uyghur community, Chair Turkel has served and continues to serve the community with pride for decades. As the first Uyghur lawyer to receive an education in the United States, Chair Turkel has tirelessly fought for the rights of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan and around the world. Nury Turkel possesses extensive legal and foreign policy experience, which will help him effectively raise the plight of Uyghur people and safeguard the universal right to freedom of religious belief in foreign countries. CFU is confident that Nury Turkel will contribute greatly to USCIRF’s role of promoting religious freedom abroad.