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Rubio and Merkley Applaud Inclusion of Their Provision to Require Administration to Determine Whether Crimes Against Uyghurs Constitute Atrocities

Dec 22, 2020 | Comunicados de Prensa

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) welcomed the inclusion of a critical provision in the fiscal year 2021 omnibus spending bill that requires the Secretary of State to determine, within 90 days after enactment, whether the persecution of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and members of other Muslim minority groups in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) constitutes atrocities. Similar language is also included in their bipartisan and bicameral Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (S.3744, H.R.6210).

“Evidence is mounting of the horrific and systematic human rights abuses and crimes against Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities by the CCP in Xinjiang,” Rubio said. “It is time for the U.S. government to clearly assess the evidence and issue a formal determination of the atrocities. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate took a stand in support of justice, and I hope the Trump Administration and any future administrations will be clear about the nature of these crimes and hold those responsible accountable. I also urge free nations to do the same and recognize these atrocities for what they are.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is committing crimes against humanity in Xinjiang—and we can’t stay silent in the face of those atrocities,” Merkley said. “You can’t fix a problem without naming it, and it’s a positive step that this legislation will require the U.S. government to assess this behavior for what it is. Now we must continue the fight, and do all that we can to hold the CCP accountable for its horrific actions. Forced labor, arbitrary detention, intrusive surveillance and policing, political indoctrination, and forced cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities should have no place anywhere in the world.”

Rubio is Co-Chair of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee that oversees human rights, and is a member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.

Merkley is a member of the CECC, the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations’ Subcommittee that oversees multilateral institutions, and a member of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.