PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
East Turkistan Government in Exile
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8 March 2022
WASHINGTON DC — Members of the East Turkistani / Uyghur diaspora in the Washington, DC metropolitan area peacefully demonstrated in front of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security office in Washington, DC. About thirty-five Uyghurs, including concentration survivors, urged the U.S. Government to expedite asylum and green card applications of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples that fled China’s ongoing genocide in East Turkistan.
Some 10,000 – 15,000 Uyghurs and other East Turkistanis are believed to be residing in the United States. Hundreds, possibly even thousands, of Uyghurs across the United States have been patiently waiting for years, some over a decade, to be officially granted asylum.
The long delay has caused anxiety amongst members of the Uyghur diaspora community as they struggle to get work permits, access health care, and provide for their families. Over the years, East Turkistani / Uyghur organizations have repeatedly been calling on the U.S. Government to resolve the immigration issues of Uyghurs more swiftly.
On January 19, 2021, the U.S. Government officially designated China’sChina’s atrocities against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic peoples in Occupied East Turkistan as genocide. In light of the designation, there have been repeated pleas by the East Turkistani / Uyghur community urging the U.S. Government to expedite their asylum case. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services have told Uyghur organizations that the asylum cases have been backlogged due to the covid 19 pandemic and the low staff.
However, following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in September 2021, the U.S. Government announced that it would be expediting the resettlement of Afghan refugees into the United States. East Turkistanis are concerned that U.S. Government is not treating the East Turkistani / Uyghur issue with equal priority despite the official designation of China’sChina’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples as genocide.
“The U.S. has been expediting resettlement of Afghans and even granted them Priority 2 status, yet it is failing to do the same for Uyghurs,” said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile. ”We ask the U.S. not to forget Uyghurs and again urge the various departments and agencies of the U.S. Government to uphold the genocide designation and grant Uyguhurs asylum,” he added.
Many Uyghurs in the diaspora have been rendered stateless and are at risk of being deported to Chinese Occupied East Turkistan, where they will face imprisonment, torture, and even execution. Over the years, the Chinese government has convinced numerous governments to deport Uyghurs; in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan alone, over 7,000 Uyghurs are believed to have been deported between 2016-2018.
“The Biden Administration announced that they would accept 125,000 refugees into the U.S. in 2022. We ask that at least 2,500 of those accepted be Uyghurs who are at risk of being deported in other countries,” said President Ghulam Yaghma of the East Turkistan Government in Exile.
The East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) has also called on the U.S. Government and the international community to support East Turkistan and its people’s efforts to obtain justice by supporting East Turkistan’sTurkistan’s case against Chinese officials at the International Criminal Court.
“We urge governments worldwide, including the U.S. Government, to call for an investigation into China’s ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in East Turkistan,” said Dr. Mamtimin Ala, the ETGE’s Representative to the EU.