The Canadian parliament on Monday approved a non-binding motion that labels China’s treatment of Uyghurs as ‘genocide’. Parliament is now calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to officially recognize China’s treatment of the Muslim minority.
In total, 266 of the 338 members of the Canadian lower house voted in favor of the motion submitted by the opposition. Several coalition members also voted in favor. The other members, including Trudeau and government ministers, abstained.
The motion acknowledges that ‘past and present Uyghurs in China have been victims of genocide’. According to MPs, Uyghurs in China’s Xinjiang region have experienced, among other things, ‘political and anti-religious indoctrination’, ‘forced labor’ and ‘the destruction of cultural sites’.
An amendment to the motion calling for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing to be moved to another country if China continues the genocide was also passed.
Second country, after US
Experts say more than a million Uyghurs are currently being held against their will in political re-education camps. Beijing denies this, claiming that these are vocational training centers to move Uyghurs away from terrorism and separatism.
Globally, Canada is the second country to recognize China’s treatment of the Muslim minority as genocide. Only the United States did that before. Trudeau acknowledges reports of human rights violations from China and has said that he is consulting with international allies about the use of the term “genocide”.
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