UHRP Praises Parliamentary Report, Urges U.K. Government to Take Up Recommendations

UK FAC Report

July 7, 2021, 7:01 p.m. EDT
For Immediate Release
Contact: Peter Irwin +1 (646) 906-7722, Louisa Greve +1 (571) 882-4825

The Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) is encouraged by the strong recommendations made by the U.K. Foreign Affairs Committee following months of research and testimony, and calls on the government to quickly implement the recommendations on genocide, forced labour, and the protection of Uyghurs abroad.

“We call on Boris Johnson’s government to act decisively,” said UHRP Executive Director Omer Kanat. “This far-reaching parliamentary report shows that the U.K. has real leverage to increase the cost on the perpetrators of the genocide of our people, and has many avenues to concretely help suffering Uyghurs. The time for talk is past. Uyghurs desperately need action.”

The Committee report, Never Again: The UK’s Responsibility to Act on Atrocities in Xinjiang and Beyond, includes wide-ranging recommendations for the U.K. government to fulfill its obligations regarding China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples, stating that “A crisis of this scale requires a cross-government, cross-sectoral, international approach.”

The Committee recommends that the government accept Parliament’s determination that Uyghurs are suffering genocide and crimes against humanity, and that action should be taken to bring it to an end. The Committee also calls on the U.K. government to initiate a special session of the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council, and propose a motion for the High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct an investigation.

In response to the widespread use of Uyghur forced labor, the Committee recommends that the U.K. government consider a ban on the import of all cotton products produced in the Uyghur Region; issue guidance to businesses on supply-chain traceability; and press for an investigation by the International Labour Organization to verify the extent of Uytgyur forced labor.

In relation to the upcoming 2022 Beijing Olympics, the Committee urges the government to abstain from sending government officials to any related events, for athletes not to participate in the opening or closing ceremonies (beyond one representative), and to strongly discourage U.K. businesses from sponsoring or advertising at the Olympics.

The Committee also urges the government to support the Uyghur diaspora by implementing an asylum fast track for those fleeing persecution in China, and to form a coalition of “sanctuary states” that will commit to protecting Uyghurs abroad.

Other recommendations include a call to “intensify efforts to coordinate sanctions with allies;” for the BBC World Service to broadcast in the Uyghur language in areas with substantial Uyghur communities; for U.K. universities to avoid collaboration with Chinese institutions with links to Uyghur repression; and for the government to prohibit U.K. companies from doing business with entities implicated in the abuses.

Read more:

UHRP encouraged by UK parliament motion recognizing genocide, calls on governments to respond accordingly, April 22, 2021

Civil society groups welcome action by UN human rights experts to address forced labour in Uyghur region, March 30, 2021

UHRP hails UK, Canada, EU coordinated sanctions over China’s atrocities, March 22, 2021

UHRP Submission to Australian Parliament Inquiry on Forced Labor Bill, February 9, 2021 

Authoritative legal opinion concludes that treatment of Uyghurs amounts to crimes against humanity and genocide, February 8, 2021

UHRP Submission for Consideration by the U.K. Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, January 19, 2021
Testimony of Dr. Elise Anderson Before the House of Commons of Canada, Subcommittee on International Human Rights, July 21, 2020