Omer Kanat

Who is Omer Kanat

Omer Kanat is a Uyghur human rights advocate, Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), and Executive Committee Chairman of the World Uyghur Congress (WUC). He co-founded UHRP in 2003 and the World Uyghur Congress in 2004. He has served as Vice President of the World Uyghur Congress since 2006 and Chairman of the WUC Executive Committee since 2017.

Mr. Kanat regularly meets with members of US Congress to brief them on Uyghur human rights and policy responses, and has testified before the Senate Human Rights Caucus and the U.S. Atrocity Early Warning Task Force. He has published op-eds for  media outlets including EU Observer, The Diplomat, The Globe Post, The Geopolitics, Bangkok Post, Hong Kong Free Press, Malaysiakini, and Tempo (Indonesia). His comments and interviews have been featured by PBS NewsHour, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, Politico, and Radio Free Asia, among others. His public speaking includes remarks at universities, think tanks, faith-based groups, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Before his work as a human rights advocate, he worked for two decades as a broadcast journalist. From 1999 to 2009 Mr. Kanat was Senior Editor at Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, where he covered the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, edited Uyghur-language news, conducted exclusive interviews with prominent figures in Inner Asia, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and reported on breaking news around the world. Prior to his work at Radio Free Asia, he was Senior Editor at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service.  

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