Carmichael highlights danger of inaction on Uyghur genocide

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken in a parliamentary debate on the Uyghur Tribunal this Thursday, to highlight the danger of inaction on the growing evidence of genocide by the Chinese government in Xinjiang. The Uyghur Tribunal found last year that the Beijing regime was responsible for genocide and crimes against humanity; this week also saw the French Parliament acknowledge the genocide against the Uyghurs.

Mr Carmichael is co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Uyghurs and led the first parliamentary debate on the growing humanitarian crisis in January 2019.

Speaking during the debate, Mr Carmichael said:

“This is an appropriate moment to remind ourselves why the genocide convention is framed in such a way: because throughout history, when genocide has happened, we have always played catch-up and said that we did not know. We live in a very different world now, in which we do know; that is why we have the obligation, which has now been triggered, to act. We can call it out in the House, but only the Government can act.”

Responding, Conservative Tim Loughton MP said:

“The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right and has been a doughty champion of the cause. We cannot stand by and wait for further atrocities to happen. We are under a duty to trigger the processes that recognise that genocide has been and is still being committed, and to take appropriate actions to counter it. That is absolutely clear. I cannot envisage anything the Government could say in response today that would get them out of that obligation, now that the evidence has so clearly, so starkly and so skilfully been put forward by Sir Geoffrey Nice.”

Following the debate, the House resolved the following motion:

“That this House notes that the December 2021 Uyghur Tribunal’s judgment in London found beyond reasonable doubt that the People’s Republic of China was responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity and torture in the Uyghur region; and calls on the Government to urgently assess whether it considers there to be a serious risk of genocide in the Uyghur region and to present its findings to the House within two months of this motion being passed, use all means reasonably available to ensure the cessation of ongoing genocide, including conducting due diligence to ensure it is not assisting, aiding, abetting or otherwise allowing the continuation of genocide and fulfil its other obligations under the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, accept the recommendations of the Fifth Report of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Uyghur forced labour in Xinjiang and UK value chains, Session 2019-21, HC 1272, including black-listing UK firms selling slave-made products in the UK and putting in place import controls to protect UK consumers, and place sanctions on the perpetrators of this genocide, including Chen Quanguo.”

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