Warm words no longer enough – Uighur genocide must be recognised

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today called for the Government to end delays and take steps to recognise the genocide of the Uighur people in China. Mr Carmichael spoke in an urgent debate in Parliament following a new BBC report which detailed allegations of systematic rape of Uighur women in Chinese camps. According to estimates, more than a million Uighurs and other minorities have been detained in camps in China.

Speaking remotely in the debate, Mr Carmichael said:

“What we’ve seen in this programme is shocking, but it can no longer be any surprise. Nobody can say now that they do not know what is happening here. The minister has said it twice now, that genocide is a question for the courts, unlike the United States. So surely, the logic of the minister’s own argument should be that when Lord Alton’s amendment to the Trade Bill comes back to this house next week, the Government should be supporting it or at the very least finding a form of words which they will bring forward to achieve the same end. Warm words and hand wringing, I’m afraid, is no longer enough.”

Responding for the Government, Nigel Adams MP said:

“I would just reiterate: the US does have a different process for determining genocide, that it’s not linked to a court decision. It’s our longstanding policy that any judgement as to whether genocide has occurred is a matter for a competent court. We are looking to work with colleagues to ensure that the relevant debate and scrutiny can take place here. That work has been going on and no doubt there will be further such conversations as we lead up to the bill coming back.”

Reacting after the exchange, Mr Carmichael said:

“There is only so long we can wait to act before we become complicit in this slow march towards the eradication of a people. The Government must take steps to recognise the genocide now while it still may have some effect. Despite the Minister’s slow pace, the clock is ticking.”

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