WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley—along with U.S. Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), James Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ben Cardin (D-MD)—yesterday introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate human rights abuses perpetrated by the People’s Republic of China against the Uyghur people and other ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) as genocide.
The resolution would hold China accountable under the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and begin the process to coordinate an international response to bring these abuses to a halt.
“China’s assault on Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups—escalating surveillance, imprisonment, torture, and forced ‘re-education camps’—is genocide, pure and simple,” said Merkley, who is a Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) commissioner, and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “America can’t stand silent.”
Merkley has been at the forefront of the congressional push to strengthen the United States’ commitment to investigating and responding to the Chinese government’s human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims in China. Steps taken by Merkley include cosponsoring the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, and authoring the bill’s provisions sanctioning Chinese leaders responsible for these human rights violations.
Additionally, Merkley joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act earlier this year—legislation to ensure that goods made in the XUAR imported into the United States are not made with forced labor.