Press Release – For immediate release
26 May 2020
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
+49 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress celebrates and welcomes the U.S. Congress’s appointment of Uyghur-American attorney Nury Turkel to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Attorney Turkel is a prominent figure in the Uyghur community.  Mr. Turkel is one of the founding members of the World Uyghur Congress and has provided policy and legal advice to the current and former presidents.  In 2003, Mr. Turkel co-founded the Uyghur Human Rights Project and its current Board Chair. Previously, Mr. Turkel served president of the Uyghur-American Association. 

This decision comes on the heels of the passage of the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act of 2020 in the Senate. These two major decisions mark a milestone in Uyghur advocacy in the United States, as well as in the rest of the world.  Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the U.S. House of Representatives appointing a Uyghur representative to the USCIRF sends a strong message to the Chinese government that the United States care about the Uyghur people and will not tolerate the gross violations of human rights in East Turkistan committed by the Chinese Communist Party. Significantly, these decisions in the U.S. Congress will also give hope for the Uyghur community that our demands for the respect of basic human rights in East Turkistan are being heard and taken seriously by the U.S. government and American people. 

‘’Last year, the appointment of a Uyghur woman in the White House, Elnigar Iltebir as the China Director at the National Security Council gave Uyghurs hope. A few months later, the appointment of Nury Turkel, a respected Uyghur-American attorney to another top position in the United States government to work on public diplomacy and rights advocacy is of great encouragement for the Uyghur community’’ said WUC President Dolkun Isa. 

Mr.Turkel is the first U.S. educated Uyghur lawyer who has tirelessly advocated for the rights of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan, as well as in the diaspora. With his legal and foreign policy experience and expertise on the Uyghur human rights situation, WUC firmly believes Nury Turkel will voice the needs of the Uyghur people and be a valuable addition to the USCIRF to defend the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad.