Scrapping Free Trade with Countries Committing Genocide
Friday January 22 2021
On Tuesday 19th January, the Government narrowly won a vote in Parliament to defeat changes to the Trade Bill that would have outlawed trade deals with countries that the High Court rules are committing genocide, such as China against the Uyghur population. If passed, the amendment would have meant that if the High Court determined that genocide is taking place in a country, the UK would have to scrap any free trade deals with that country. The Government defeated this change by only 11 votes – meaning that only six more were needed to ensure that this law came into effect.
There is now a new amendment that would mean that:
- The High Court can determine whether a genocide is taking place,
- If the High Court rules that a genocide is taking place, there must be a debate in Parliament to decide whether to withdraw from any trade agreements.
While this is not as strong as the original amendment, it is important as it does provide a way to ensure that there are consequences for atrocities such as those currently being committed against China’s Uyghur population.
When this bill returns to the House of Commons, it is essential that MPs vote in favour of this amendment. As our political representatives, they must unequivocally pursue the morally right course of action in ensuring that acts such as those currently being committed against China’s Uyghur population will not be tolerated.
CEO of MEND, Dr Shazad Amin, states: “our global conscience cannot allow evils such as those being perpetuated against the Uyghur people to be committed without consequence. Amidst reports of prison work camps and women being forcibly sterilized, respect for human rights and human dignity demands that we speak out against oppression and do everything in our power to show the world at large that there is no place for such heinous atrocities. We, therefore, call on all MPs to demonstrate their moral fortitude in standing in solidarity with the Uyghur people in supporting this amendment.”