The International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF) was established in 2005 by former prisoner of conscious Rebiya Kadeer, and Uyghur intellectuals in the United States. Mrs. Kadeer was released by the Chinese government to the United States on March 17, 2005 after serving nearly six years in Chinese prison for defending the human rights of the Uyghur people. Chinese authorities decided to release her only after persistent pressure exerted by the U.S. government and human rights organizations. Since her release, Ms. Kadeer has become the international voice of the Uyghur people in championing their cause.
The main purpose of establishing IUHRDF was to promote human rights, religious freedom, and democracy for the Uyghur people. The organization places a special focus on the rights of Uyghur women and children. Through research and documentation of human rights abuses against Uyghurs, IUHRDF aims to educate and raise awareness about the conditions of the Uyghur people living in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (XUAR, the former East Turkestan). At the same time, it encourages the international community to pressure the Chinese government to respect the rights of the Uyghurs and their rich, unique culture. IUHRDF hopes to play a leading role in building a democratic Uyghur community by strengthening their understanding of their basic human rights and the imperative role of nonviolence in seeking social and political change.