CFU Honors Congressional Uyghur Caucus

CFU PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 17, 2024 at 3:30 PM 

contact@campaignforuyghurs.org

+1 650-703-4523

https://campaignforuyghurs.org

 

Washington D.C. – Yesterday, Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) hosted a special event to honor establishment of the bi-partisan Congressional Uyghur Caucus, co-chaired by United States Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), Tom Suozzi (D-NY), building upon the vital work of Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-VA). Originally established in 2021 at the initiative and request from CFU, the Congressional Uyghur Caucus brings together U.S. Congress Members committed to advocating for the human rights of the Uyghur people in a bipartisan fashion.

Yesterday’s event on Capitol Hill marked a significant milestone in ongoing efforts to raise awareness and advocate for the rights of the Uyghur people. It brought together Congressional Representatives, co-chairs and members of the Caucus, as well as representatives from the Uyghur diaspora, China experts, and survivors of China’s concentration camps. Speakers highlighted the critical role of the Congressional Uyghur Caucus in advancing legislative initiatives aimed at promoting human rights and democracy for the Uyghur people, and holding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) accountable for its atrocities.

In her opening remarks for the event, Rushan Abbas, founder and executive director of CFU, expressed her vision for the Caucus to represent a “shared endeavor, a collective voice in Congress to hold the CCP accountable for its relentless assault on humanity.” Addressing the audience, Abbas said, “Everyone here, and every member of this Caucus, brings a unique genius to our collective effort. Yes, the path ahead remains daunting. Yet, we fight. We fight to leave a better world to our next generations… because we have to.

Rep. Tom Suozzi, who rejoined the U.S. House in February after winning a special election in New York, discussed the next steps to raise awareness about the plight of the Uyghurs as he assumed his role as co-chair of the Uyghur caucus. “We have to figure out how we can bring attention to the Uyghurs in this world where everybody’s getting all these different messages. Suozzi said. “The public does not know what’s happening with the Uyghurs. So, as I team up again with Chris Smith to co-chair the Uyghur caucus and we bring other members of Congress in, we have to figure out as a team, along with all the great organizations here today, how to bring attention to this issue.”

Rep. Chris Smith, a leading voice for human rights in the U.S. House of Representatives and co-chair of both the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) and the Uyghur Caucus, highlighted the atrocities in East Turkistan.  Smith said. “Since the beginning of the Chinese government’s genocide against the Uyghurs, evidence has been mounting that the CCP has increasingly targeted the Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, for harvesting ‘halal’ organs, which are then marketed to Muslim recipients, especially in the Gulf states.” He later went on to emphasize the need for the U.S. Senate to pass the Stop Forced Organ Harvesting Act of 2023

Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-VA), who represents Virginia’s 10th congressional district, which has a significant Uyghur population, stated, “From the moment I first heard these personal accounts from Uyghurs, I made the commitment to do all I could to shine a light on these atrocities. That’s why I’ve made it an issue of top priority, including leading legislation to crack down on the import of goods made from forced labor and fighting to make it easier for Uyghurs fleeing persecution to seek asylum here in the U.S.” Congresswoman Wexton registered the Congressional Uyghur Caucus last year as the Democratic co-chair in the absence of Suozzi.

Addressing the attendees, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), ranking member of the House Select Committee on the CCP, joined other lawmakers in denouncing the Uyghur genocide. He said, “There are millions of Uyghur people who are in concentration camps; there are tens of thousands of forced sterilizations…the international community has spoken, but we need to continue to speak out on behalf of these people, and we need to act.”

Speaking on the issue of mass internment of Uyghurs, Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), who serves on the House China Task Force, said, “My mission is to make [young people] appreciate what I believe is the worst, the largest, the most brutal genocide that has happened since the Holocaust of World War II, and it is happening right now as we speak.”

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a video message stated, “The CCP must not profit from its disgusting human rights abuses. I also do everything in my power to ensure that the U.S. uses its voice in international organizations such as the UN Human Rights Council to hold China accountable for its human rights abuses.” 

Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, commended the role the United States has played in advocating for Uyghur rights. Isa noted, “The United States has long been a leading force and support for the Uyghur rights against the ongoing genocide perpetrated by the Chinese government.” He lauded the establishment of the Caucus and shared his hope that it would help bring an end to the atrocities against Uyghur and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan.

Other speakers at the event included Nury Turkel, Uyghur-American human rights advocate and Commissioner of the U.S. Commissioner on International Religious Freedom; Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President Emeritus of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Brian Joseph, Senior VP for programs at the National Endowment for Democracy; prominent human rights defender Sophie Richardson; Piero Tozzi, CECC staff director; and Mihrigul Tursun, an Uyghur survivor of China’s concentration camps.

The event concluded with a renewed call to action for governments, international organizations, and civil society to work together to end the atrocities perpetrated against the Uyghur people. Attendees were encouraged to support initiatives that promote accountability, transparency, and justice for victims of human rights abuses.

The Campaign for Uyghurs remains steadfast in its mission to promote the rights and freedoms of the Uyghur people and looks forward to continued collaboration with the Congressional Uyghur Caucus and partners in the global community.

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Campaign for Uyhgurs

We defend the human rights of uyghur people and the free world by exposing and confronting the chinese government's genocide, and empowering uyghur women and youth in the diaspora.

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