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Parliament must act to curb genocide

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UK Trade Bill

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. 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.

There is not much time to act! MPs may vote on this as early as the 3rd February!

GET INVOLVED! Tell your MP to vote in favour of the amendment when the bill returns to the House of Commons!

  • Step one: Find your MP here.
  • Step two: Send them an email using the below template. Don’t forget to include your name and postcode in the subject line!

Dear [NAME],

I am writing to you as your constituent to raise my deep concern surrounding the Government’s recent narrow defeat of amendments 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 Uighur population.

To my understanding, 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.

This second part of the new amendment removes the Government’s main objection to the originally tabled amendment regarding their view that only Parliament should have the power to revoke trade deals. When the bill returns to the House of Commons, it is essential that you vote in favour of this amendment as it provides a way to ensure that there are consequences for atrocities such as those currently being committed against China’s Uyghur population.

As your constituent, I urge you to take a firm stance on this matter and unequivocally ensure that heinous acts such as those currently being committed against China’s Uyghur population will not be tolerated.

I would appreciate confirmation of your intentions in this matter.
Yours Faithfully,

[NAME]

[POSTCODE]

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