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A Letter to Support Protections for the Uyghur People in China

Joined 48 groups in a letter to the Honorable Senator James Risch on February 12, 2024

Uyghur Muslims

Over the past several years, the Chinese government has severely escalated its persecution of religious minorities, including Christians, by destroying religious symbols on houses of worship, burning Bibles, confiscating religious materials, closing houses of worship, and detaining individuals holding divergent views. Specifically since April 2017, China has systematically detained more than one million Uyghur Muslims and placed them into “re-education camps.”

In these internment camps, Uyghurs are prevented from engaging in their religious practices and forcibly “re-educated” to the Communist Party’s ideological standard. They are also subjected to psychological and, oftentimes, physical persecution, and their cultural heritage and practices are being erased.

The ERLC also has grave concerns about the trajectory of China’s approach to Christians and other religious minorities and is committed to working with other nongovernmental organizations to direct both U.S. and international pressure toward alleviating their persecution.

In 2021, the Southern Baptist Convention was the first denomination to pass a resolution rightly calling what is happening to the Uyghur people a genocide.

The ERLC continues to urge the Biden administration to prioritize religious freedom and human rights in its negotiations with China and supports the Uyghur Policy Act, which would increase the prioritization of this issue in U.S. foreign policy.

On February 12, 2024, the ERLC joined 48 other advocacy groups in a letter to Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Senator James Risch requesting that the Committee take up the Uyghur Policy Act for consideration. More specifically, the letter states:

“The Uyghur Policy Act represents a critical step towards holding the Chinese government accountable for its egregious actions in the Uyghur homeland. By establishing a clear framework for addressing human rights abuses, this legislation sends a powerful message that the United States stands in solidarity with oppressed communities around the world.”

The ERLC continues to advocate for religious liberty to be prioritized in foreign policy matters.

Uyghur Muslims

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