Lawmakers form bipartisan Uyghur Caucus to highlight abuses
Reps. Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.) and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) on Thursday announced the creation of the Congressional Uyghur Caucus, which they say will raise awareness of the Chinese Community Party’s (CCP) “systemic human rights violations against the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.”
“Put simply, we’re talking about the largest coordinated human rights abuse campaign of the 21st century being perpetrated by the Chinese Communist Party,” Suozzi said in the announcement. “Not only as Members of Congress, but as human beings we have a responsibility to uphold the values of fundamental human dignity and religious freedom abroad.
Smith called the mass internment of the Muslim Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities “egregious crimes” and “atrocious human rights violations.”
United Nations human rights experts believe that up to 1 million Uyghur Muslims are currently being held in internment camps in the Xinjiang region, being forced into labor, to eat pork and to be sterilized.
Rushan Abbas, executive director for the Campaign for Uyghurs, praised the creation of the caucus.
“I am incredibly grateful for this development in the United States Congress, a true signal that the Uyghur cause is entering the mainstream,” Abbas said. “When we approached Congressman Suozzi with the idea of establishing the Uyghur caucus in the US Congress, we knew we were speaking to a champion for Uyghur human rights, and we are so thankful to him for spearheading this important initiative alongside the renowned Congressman Chris Smith.”
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman touched on “the horrifying actions taking place in Xinjiang” during recent talks in China with Foreign Ministry officials.