URAP Press Release on the Parliamentary Recognition of the Uyghur Genocide
February 22, 2021
The Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project (URAP) applauds Canada today. the Canadian Parliament has passed a historic motion to acknowledge the atrocities committed by the government of China against the Uyghurs constitutes genocide. the victims are the Uyghurs in East Turkistan, officially known by China as the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
“We thank all members of Parliament from all over the political spectrum voting for the Uyghur Genocide Motion. This is a huge spine growth for Canada to stand up against China’s genocidal policy and to protect the vulnerable victims” said Mehmet Tohti, Executive Director of URAP.
Canada has set the precedent for international acknowledgement of the Uyghur Genocide and has taken the commanding lead in fulfilling its obligation under the 1948 Geneva Convention and its Responsibility to Protect (R2P) commitment.
Parliamentary acknowledgment of the Uyghur genocide is clearly a red flag for China. It sends the Chinese government a deafening message to immediately halt the heinous crimes that they have perpetuated against the Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other Turkic peoples in East Turkistan.
Since 2016, China has been engaged in an all-out war against the Uyghurs, the ancestral owners of the occupied land of East Turkestan. The entirety of China, both state and non-state actors, have been mobilized in this war. China’s access to modern technology, along with its financial, political, and diplomatic power, has only served to further the elimination of the Uyghurs from their own homes.
Over three million Uyghurs have been interned in vast networks of concentration camps. Nearly a million Uyghurs have been displaced and forced into industrial slavery in manufacturing facilities across mainland China. Uyghur children have been torn from their parents’ grip. Mosques, shrines, cemeteries, the Uyghur language, their rich culture, families — all shattered and desecrated. Uyghur history is a forbidden subject. Intellectuals are locked up. The entire Uyghur society is crushed under the weight of constant digital surveillance and monitoring.
Forced marriages and disappearances, forced sterilizations, forced indoctrination, and forced denunciation of one’s religious and national identity has become the new normal for Uyghurs.
On the basis of leaked government documents, witness testimonies, investigative reports and satellite imagery, the alarm signal has been rung in the last 4 years. Accredited scholars, reporters,
and human rights defenders have shed light on China’s crimes against humanity and genocide committed against Uyghurs Canada, and the international community, must act.
The Subcommittee of International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development issued a statement on October 21, 2020 acknowledging that the atrocities committed by the government of China against the Uyghurs is genocide.
“It is time for Canada to revisit the policy proposals by the Subcommittee and implement it with a strong, enforceable mechanism,” said Mehmet Tohti. “The Canadian market is burdened with Chinese products tainted by forced Uyghur labour Imports of cotton, tomatoes, and solar energy products. Canada must enforce a full ban on the import of these products from China in order to clean up our consumer market from Uyghur forced labour products” he continued.
As a result of the Uyghur genocide, tens of thousands of Uyghurs have escaped and sought refuge from China’s persecution. However, many Uyghur refugees are currently in limbo. They reside in unsafe countries under precarious conditions. Many are facing the risk of deportation.
URAP continues to call on the Government of Canada to work with the international community to end this genocide. Those responsible for these crimes must be punished and the victims must be protected.
It is time the Canadian government and the rest of the world to listen and respond decisively to the unfolding Uyghur genocide.
For more information, please contact:
Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project
T: 613-261-8512; F: 437 800 4099