UHRP encourages UN, other governments to follow up on Canada’s historic Uyghur genocide vote
February 22, 2021, 5:18 p.m. EST
For Immediate Release
Contact: Omer Kanat +1 (202) 790-1795, Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722
The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) applauds the vote by the Canadian House of Commons to recognize that the Chinese government is carrying out a genocide against Uyghurs, and calls on the UN and other governments to take action without delay.
“China’s atrocity crimes demand a worldwide response. Uyghurs thank Canada for this historic vote,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “We are now in the 5th year of unimaginable hell.”
With overwhelming support, the House of Commons passed the motion which recognizes that “a genocide is currently being carried out by the People’s Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims . . .” Moreover, the House called on the International Olympic Committee to “move the 2022 Olympic Games if the Chinese government continues this genocide and call on the government to officially adopt this position.”
The Canadian government must develop a plan of action to follow-up on the vote, encourage allies to make similar designations, and work through the UN Human Rights Council to establish an independent mechanism to evaluate the Uyghur situation.
The vote is consistent with the position of 50 genocide and atrocity prevention organizations and senior experts, who reissused a joint open letter with the UHRP last week. They found that the measures targeting Uyghurs “meet the threshold of acts constitutive of genocide, core international crimes under the Genocide Convention . . .” The letter also urges the international community to respond through diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means.
Other institutions have also argued that China’s treatment of Uyghurs may amount to genocide or crimes against humanity, including the Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect, the US Congressional Executive Commission on China, the Simon Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, and the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
UHRP has compiled considerable evidence supporting this finding, including mass, arbitrary detention in violation of international law, the persecution of the Uyghur population on racial and religious grounds, and widespread enforced disappearances. The destruction of countless Uyghur cultural sites and the use of forced or coercive labor have further underscored China’s genocidal intent.