WASHINGTON: March 13, 2021 – Matching an effort in the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware) introduced the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act in the U.S. Senate to assist Uyghur and other Turkic refugees from East Turkistan who are facing genocide under China.
The Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act would grant Priority 2 refugee status to Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic peoples who have faced persecution in or fled from Occupied East Turkistan, what Beijing renamed “Xinjiang (the colony or new territory).”
Priority 2 Status would allow thousands of Uyghurs and other East Turkistanis to forgo a United Nations referral and enable them to apply directly as refugees to the U.S. Government, reducing the risk that Beijing would be notified by a third country and seek their deportation back to China.
The East Turkistan Government welcomes the bi-partisan effort of the U.S. Congress in addressing the humanitarian crisis faced by Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan.
“We thank Senator Rubio and Senator Coons for introducing the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act,” said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile. “We again call on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite the asylum applications of Uyghurs and other East Turkistanis that have already sought refuge in the U.S.”
According to a 2013 U.S. Census, there were 8,905 Uyghurs in the United States. The East Turkistan Government in Exile estimates that there are some 10,000 to 15,000 Uyghurs in the United States as of 2021.
“There are several thousand Uyghurs in the United States whose asylum applications have been pending for years,” said Aziz Suleyman, the Director of Refugee Affairs of the East Turkistan Government in Exile. “Many Uyghurs in the U.S. are without healthcare, they’re unable to find a decent job, and young Uyghurs are unable to pursue higher education. We hope the U.S. Government addresses these issues more swiftly,” he added.
The East Turkistan Government in Exile is also calling on the governments of Australia, Canada, the European Union, India, Japan, and the U.K. to grant refuge to Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples fleeing genocide in East Turkistan.