Press Release – For immediate release
22 June 2022
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress applauds the election of Uyghur-American attorney, Nury Turkel as the Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Chair Turkel was the first Uyghur American appointed to the Commission by House Leader Nancy Pelosi in May 2020, where he served as a Commissioner and was reappointed in 2022, as Vice-Chair. He is also the Chairman of the Board for the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), a senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

This announcement comes on the same day as the implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act (UFLPA), the first-ever legislation to address Uyghur forced labour in the world. 

‘’I am delighted to receive the news that my long-time friend Nury Turkel has been elected as the Chair of the USCIRF’’, said WUC President, Dolkun Isa. ‘’His in-depth knowledge of foreign policy and human rights makes him a valuable asset to the USCIRF and to the mission of protecting religious freedom worldwide.’’

Chair Turkel is a respected figure in the Uyghur community, which he has served for decades and continues to do so proudly. He is one of the founding members of the World Uyghur Congress and has provided policy and legal advice to current and former WUC presidents. In 2003, he co-founded the Uyghur Human Rights Project. Previously, Chair Turkel served as president of the Uyghur-American Association (UAA).

Chair 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 extensive legal and foreign policy expertise, 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.