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MEND Quick Read: It’s time to recognise genocide against the Uyghur People

MEND Quick Read: It’s time to recognise genocide against the Uyghur People

Categories: Latest News

Thursday April 15 2021

On Thursday 22nd April, the House of Commons will debate a motion to declare China to be committing genocide against the Uyghur people and call on the Government to take action.

“Re-education camps”

Nearly one million Uyghur Muslims have been reported as being held in “re-education camps” in Xinjiang, China.

In reality, these camps are widely accepted as the Chinese Government’s tool to systematically persecute and imprison the Uyghur population, with the aim of destroying the Uyghurs as a people.

There are regular reports of starvation, sexual abuse, torture, forced sterilisation and abortion, brainwashing, solitary confinement, forced labour, and the forcible separation of Uyghur children from their families.

Life outside the camps

Even Uyghur people living outside of the camps are prevented from the freedom of practicing their religion such as: fasting during Ramadhan, religious burial rituals, marriage ceremonies, naming their children with Muslim or Uyghur names, and performing religious pilgrimages (e.g. Hajj).

Reports have also included State actors force-feeding pork and alcohol to Muslims, as well as launching a campaign against halal food, making it harder for Muslims to find suitable food in Xinjiang.

Uyghurs are labelled as extremists for wearing a headscarf or veil, having a beard, or refusing to watch state television.

How is this genocide?

According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is defined as:

“any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

  1. Killing members of the group;
  2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
  3. Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
  4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
  5. Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Why is the Parliamentary debate so important?

At present, the UK is relying upon international courts to make a determination of genocide.

However, there are only two international courts capable of making this determination:

  • China will use their power of veto to block any investigation in the International Criminal Court.
  • China will not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice so will not allow an investigation to take place.

This is a similar situation to the case of the Yazidis, where Russia and China had the power to block investigations by the International Courts.

At the same time, the US and Canada have both repeatedly recognised China’s actions against the Uyghur Muslim population as genocide.

It is time that the UK do the same.

How can I get involved?

  1. Contact your MP through our Action Alert.
  2. Tell them to vote in favour of the motion to #CallitGenocide and stand in solidarity with the Uyghur people.
  3. Tell other people to do the same.
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