Days after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed reluctance in calling out Chinese treatment of Uyghur Muslims as ‘genocide’, the main opposition party has now called for the House of Commons to declare that the Chinese government is committing genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang region.
We cannot remain silent. Silence only helps those who commit crimes against humanity, never the victims. Today we're calling on the Trudeau government to recognize the Uyghur genocide. My statement: pic.twitter.com/0z2jbHXu58— Erin O'Toole (@erinotoole) February 18, 2021
Canadian Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole, in a statement said that Canada cannot remain silent. “We cannot remain silent. Silence only helps those who commit crimes against humanity, never the victims,” he said in a statement.
He further said, “On a matter like genocide, Canada needs to send a clear and unequivocal signal that we will stand up for human rights and the dignity of human rights, even if it means sacrificing some economic opportunity,” O’Toole said. “Our values are not for sale.”
A vote for the same is expected on Monday.
Prior to this, O’Toole had urged that Canadian government urges to push the 2022 Beijing Olympic out of China over Chinese government treatment of Uyghurs. “Canada should not be sending athletes to China in the middle of a genocide,” he had said.
Trudeau refuses to term Chinese treatment of Uyghur a genocide
The move by Conservative lawmakers in Canada comes after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau showed reluctance to label the Chinese treatment of Uyghur Muslims as ‘genocide’. Trudeau had called the term genocide ‘extremely loaded’ and claimed “When it comes to the application of the very specific word genocide, we simply need to ensure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed before a determination like that is made.”
Earlier in January, too, Canadian MPs had asked Trudeau to take a formal stand on the Chinese treatment of the Uyghurs. When questioned about him being on the fence about recognising Uyghur treatment as genocide, Trudeau had claimed that the Canadian government is “following the right processes to establish our point of view and our official position on this subject.”
The outgoing US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, too, had declared the Chinese treatment of Uyghurs as ‘genocide’.
Chinese govt atrocities on Uyghurs
The US Department of State had estimated that up to two million Uyghurs as well as members of other Muslim minority community have been detained across intermittent camps in the region. A report by CNN states that camp detainees face food and sleep deprivation and forced injections. Further, some Uyghur women were forced to use birth control and undergo forced sterilisation as a part of deliberate attempt to bring down population of the minority.
China, however, has denied the atrocities and human rights abuse. It claims that these steps are important to curb religious extremism and terrorism in an area which is home to about 11 million Uyghurs.