Uyghur activists land three US political victories in a week

Uyghur activists land three US political victories in a week
After years of research, documentation and testimonies, this week saw advances in recognition in atrocities against Uyghurs.
2 min read
Washington, D.C.
10 December, 2021
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act could affect Chinese cotton textile exports to the US [Getty]

With two items passed in the US House of Representatives on Wednesday night and with the findings of a tribunal published on Thursday morning, Uyghur activists can claim some important political victories in a short period.

“It’s a banner week for global attention for the atrocity of these crimes,” Louisa Greve, director of global advocacy for the Uyghur Human Rights Project, told The New Arab.

On Wednesday night, the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act passed in the House of Representatives by an overwhelming 428-1. This follows a unanimously passed Senate vote from July, which is set for President Joe Biden’s approval by the end of this year. This will likely have major implications for China’s exports of cotton and solar panels.  

Wednesday also saw the passage of a resolution “condemning the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity being committed against the Uyghurs…”.

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These two moves were followed Thursday with the release of the findings of an independent international tribunal concluding that China is committing genocide against the Uyghur people. The tribual found “intent to destroy,” a key criterion of the Genocide Convention under Article II.

This news comes after more than five years of research of human rights violations in the Xinjiang region of China. Rights groups have documented widespread forced labour, mass detention, forced sterilisation and displacement.

“The US was almost alone for a long time. The response so far has not been proportionate to the significance to the crimes,” said Greve. “This week shows there’s so much more that can be done.”