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Rubio, Coons Introduce Bill to Grant Priority Refugee Status to Uyghurs Persecuted by the People’s Republic of China

Apr 13, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Chris Coons (D-DE) in introducing the Uyghur Humans Rights Protection Act, a bipartisan bill that would allow Uyghurs, who have been persecuted and targeted with genocide by the People’s Republic of China (PRC), to be eligible for priority refugee processing in the United States. The Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act would make it easier for Uyghurs, and members of other Turkic or Muslim minority groups, to apply for resettlement in the United States, as well as encourages our allies and partners to implement similar policies.

The introduction of the Uyghur Human Rights Protection Act comes after the Senators led their bipartisan colleagues in urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to take additional measures to assist Uyghurs and other Turkic or Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. In addition, last month, Coons and Rubio introduced a resolution condemning the PRC government for its atrocities and treatment of the Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and calling for an international investigation into the abuses and crimes committed there. Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Representatives Ted Deutch (D-FL.) and Mario Díaz-Balart (R-FL).

Rubio and Coons are members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

“As the CCP is committing egregious human rights violations, including genocide and crimes against humanity, urgent action is needed to end the atrocities and assist Uyghurs and others facing persecution in Xinjiang,” Rubio said. “I’m proud to join Senator Coons in introducing this bill to make Uyghurs eligible for priority refugee status.” 

“The United States must continue to speak out against the PRC’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang, and we must also provide assurance and protection for the Uyghurs and all those facing persecution as a result of their religious or ethnic identity,” Coons said. “To effectively compete with China, we must be the best version of ourselves, including by living our values and welcoming those who have been unjustly imprisoned in or forced to flee Xinjiang.”