Canada accuses China of committing genocide against Uyghurs in Xinjiang

DrThe Canadian Parliament voted by a large majority in favor of describing human rights violations in Xinjiang as a “genocide”. However, the decision has no binding effect on government affairs. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shied away from the vote. And his cabinet, represented by the foreign minister, abstained from voting. Dozens of members of Trudeau’s Liberal Party voted in favor of the proposal. There were no votes against.

In their proposal, the House of Representatives referred to the United Nations Genocide Convention, in which the concept of genocide is not limited to “killing members of a group.” Thus the crime of genocide also includes “imposing measures aimed at preventing births within a group (in this case Uyghurs)” or “the forcible transfer of children in a group to another group”. China has been accused by both human rights activists and former camp inmates.

Are receipts enough?

From a legal standpoint, however, the charge of genocide assumes that there is “intent” to “totally or partially destroy” a group. According to international lawyers, this would be difficult to prove in the case of Xinjiang, also because outside observers have very limited access to the region.

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In January, on his last day in office, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to the Canadian Parliament about the genocide in Xinjiang. His successor, Anthony Blinken, agreed with this assessment. But legal advisers at the State Department came to a different assessment, according to a report published in Foreign Policy: The arrest of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and the use of forced labor should be classified as crimes against humanity.

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