Canada’s parliament on Wednesday unanimously passed a motion to take in 10,000 Uyghur refugees who fled China but are now under pressure to return.
The decision builds on a decision by Canadian lawmakers in February 2021 to label Beijing’s treatment of Uighurs and other Turkic Muslims in the northwestern Xinjiang area as genocide.
Human rights groups believe at least one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities are imprisoned in internment camps in the region, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilizing women and imposing forced labour.
Tens of thousands have fled.
And according to backbench MP Sameer Zuberi, who supported the motion, at least 1,600 have been detained in other countries at China’s insistence or forcibly repatriated.
At a press conference, Zuberi noted that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet voted in favor of the motion, indicating the government’s “intent to make it happen” even though it is non-binding.
“It is a clear signal that we will not accept human rights violations against the Uyghur people,” he said, adding that “what is happening to the Uyghurs is unacceptable.”
Mehmet Tohti, executive director of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, told reporters it’s a strong message that will “reverberate not just in China and Canada, but around the world.”
The motion says Uyghurs who have “fled to third countries face pressure and intimidation from the Chinese state to return to China” and also accuses Beijing of putting diplomatic and economic pressure on countries to detain them and to deport them, “making them no safe haven in the world.”
It proposes to resettle 10,000 Uighurs in Canada over two years, starting in 2024.
China defended its Uyghur camps in Xinjiang, saying they are crucial to fighting terrorism and providing vocational training to minorities.
But the United States has said China’s suppression of Uyghurs amounts to “genocide,” and the United Nations has condemned China’s persecution of Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims.
Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, said: “The Uyghur people are under attack: our language, culture, religion, history, ethnic identity.”
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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