Uyghurs Ask UK MPs To Back Genocide Bill
The bill would give UK court preliminary role in determining whether a genocide is being committed by a country with whom the UK might sign a trade deal.
Over the last year, the world has woken up to what is happening to us. Report after report has shown the scale of the atrocities, the satellite image of the massive concentration camp in Debanchovo, footage of a car approaching the gate of that prison, and a girl who holds a book in Uyghur language with the inscription "aimed to foister Chinese language" move through the screen. Banning our language and religion, forcing us to work to pick cotton, sterilising us, putting us in camps, taking away our children, bulldozing our mosques and graveyards, a female voice states. We believe that we are facing genocide, and governments must help, the narrator states.
The narrating woman's name is Rahima Mahmut. For four years, she had not contacted her family, who live in the northern region of China. She does not know what happened to them and others in that Chinese region where Beijing Communists launched the persecution campaign against Uyghurs.
UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who was involved in the global campaign for Soviet Jewry persecuted by Moscow Communists, remembered the story which Ms. Mahmut told him. She told me that she had always been close to her family still living in China, but that over time they became terrified of even answering her telephone calls for fear of what it might mean for them, Rabbi Mirvis stated. They stopped using traditional Islamic greetings, which are forbidden and eventually stopped answering her calls altogether. She persisted, until one day, her brother answered the phone, and with a tremble in his voice, he implored her: Leave us in God’s hands, and we will leave you in God’s hands, too, he recalled.
The region where Ms Mahmut family inhabits is called East Turkistan by Uyghurs and Xinjiang by Beijing.
Ms. Mahmut, in this special video sponsored by World Uyghur Congress, appeals to British voters to urge their representatives to support the Genocide Determination Act 2020.
The bill not only refers the alleged genocide crimes to court but obliges UK Secretary State to establish evidence and present finding to the United Nations Security Council and the Prosecutor of the International Court Criminal Court.
Provide for the High Court of England and Wales to make a preliminary finding on cases of alleged genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes; and for the subsequent referral of such findings to the International Criminal Court or a special tribunal, the bill states.
The Bill Calls Upon UK government to present evidence to International Criminal Court
The bill not only refers to the alleged genocide crimes to court but obliges UK Secretary State to establish evidence and present finding to the United Nations Security Council and the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.
It gives back justice to Uyghurs like Ms. Mahmut to present their case in court, the privilege which China blocked with political and financial influence on the Western governments.
The so-called Genocide Amendment to the Trade Bill would allow UK courts to judge the evidence of the genocide before the government strikes the deal with the human rights violator. The House of Lords approved the bill sending it to the House of Representatives, and according to the press reports, the UK government is divided over the issue.
Mr. Nigel Adams, a Foreign Office minister, told MPs he feared an “asset flight” if ministers rushed to impose sanctions on Chinese officials for their role in the detention of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, but the Trade Secretary Ms. Liz Truss backed the bill, the Guardian newspaper reported.
The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China with 175 members from 19 parliaments recommended UK government to invoke China’s responsibility for breaches of the Genocide Convention and support opening of investigation at at the International Criminal Court on international crimes committed by Chinese officials.
Genocide Response, the London-based umbrella group, which houses a dozen of the human rights organisations, in the statement has questioned the resistance of the UK government to the bill.
The UK continue to shy away from recognizing genocide
The patrons of the group include a former judge at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, a leading barrister and an expert in human rights law, a former Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Human Rights in Cambodia and a Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention.
"(...) the UK, continue to shy away from recognizing genocide and making a formal determination – relying on the argument that it is not for politicians but for the international judicial systems to make such a determination", the organisation stated on its website.
Those who have eyes should not avert them,
those who have ears should use them to hear the cries for help,
and those who have voices have a duty to raise them.
The UK government's position on the bill is "erroneous and contested', added the author of the group's statement.
In the current climate—with too much indifference and too much silence from too many Governments—the CCP seems determined to repeat the horrific excesses of the past, emphasised Lord David Alton, who was once of the first UK lawmakers asking the government about the fate Uyghurs as early as in 2008. But those who have eyes should not avert them, those who have ears should use them to hear the cries for help, and those who have voices have a duty to raise them, he concluded during his lecture at the US Holocaust Museum.
The UK House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill in the first days of January.