Mehmet Ömer Kanat

Mehmet Ömer Kanat is the Director and Lead Researcher at the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation. He holds a B.A. in History from Istanbul University’s Faculty of Science and Literature, where he primarily focused political history, and also studied at Munich Institute of Economics and Trade. In addition, Mr. Kanat has trained in the capacity of a human rights specialist, advocate and journalist, and holds certificates in these specialties from the American University, RFA, and RFE/RL, which further attests to his expertise in the human rights field.

Prior to joining the IUHRDF in 2009, Mr. Kanat served as Senior Editor of Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service, where he covered and edited Uyghur-language news, conducted exclusive interviews with prominent figures in Inner Asia, including his holiness the Dalai Lama, and reported on breaking news from around the world, for ten years. Before joining Washington-based RFA, he was the Senior Editor of Radio Free Europe/ Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service. Mr. Kanat his fluent in English, German, Uyghur, Turkish, Persian, Tajik, Dari, Uzbek, and is functionally proficient in Kyrgyz and Kazakh languages.

Mr. Kanat has significantly contributed to the Uyghur Human Rights movement, himself a Uyghur exile from the People’s Republic of China. He has raised this critical cause all over the world, and continues to seek to expose the international community to the egregious human rights violations the Chinese Government has committed against the Uyghur people. Like Mrs. Kadeer, Mr. Kanat has persevered in the peaceful resistance to Chinese authoritarian rule, despite escalating pressure from Beijing to dissuade from his advocacy activities.