(ConservativeUnit.com)- Congress isn’t doing much about it, so a 16-year-old North Carolina girl is stepping up to try to solve a major problem.
The girl, whose parents for now have asked that she be referred to as Sydney S., is petitioning Congress to pass a law that would ban the import of any products made by Uyghur Muslims. So far, she has received more than 2,100 signatures on a petition posted on Change.org that calls on Congress measures to pass what’s called a Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.
On Tuesday, Sydney S. told Newsweek:
“No one should be in forced labor, and the fact that big companies and American and other foreign nations profit from the plight of these people is awful.”
Last September, Sydney was first made aware of the situation when she saw a post on Instagram. She said:
“I started writing letters to big brands who outsource their products and factories that use Uyghur forced labor. I never got any responses so I did some research and found out about the bill in October.”
Uyghur Muslims have been persecuted in the Xinjiang region of China. They are a largely ethnic minority of Muslims who live in the region. China has detained this group of people in what they are called “re-education camps.” There, they have been forced to work for little or no pay at all, under very poor working conditions.
Many news organizations as well as human rights organizations have linked some multi-national companies such as Nike and Coca-Cola to suppliers in the Xinjiang region of China.
In September, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would essentially ban the U.S. from importing all goods that are made in East Turkestan. The bill would also impose some sanctions on any human rights violators and also begin investigations into any factory that participated in a program of forced labor.
While companies such as Nike and Coca-Cola have condemned the cruelty against the Uyghur Muslims, they said these new legislative requirements could end up destroying supply chains that have deep roots in China.
The bill passed through the House by an overwhelming margin of 406-3. The Senate, though, didn’t vote on the bill before the end of 2020. The legislation was re-introduced in late January by 29 co-sponsors in the Senate, including Jeff Merkley and Marco Rubio.
In announcing the re-introduction of the bill, Rubio said in a statement:
“As the Chinese Communist Party is committing egregious human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities, including genocide and crimes against humanity, there is no excuse to turn a blind eye. We must instead do everything in our power to stop them. This bill is an important step in that direction.”
As for Sydney, she has contacted members of Congress as well as the executives of powerful companies to help Uyghur Muslims. She said:
“I’ve been calling, faxing and emailing senators and encouraging them to co-sponsor and pass the bill. I’ve been boycotting as much as I can. I’ve been emailing the CEOs of companies to make sure they don’t use forced labor anymore, and I also recently started an Instagram account about the bill and its importance.”