The Czech Senate has voted unanimously on a motion labelling the Chinese government’s treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities as amounting to Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. The move comes as the Belgian Parliament prepares for a showdown on a resolution condemning human rights abuses in the Xinjiang region tomorrow.
The motion, approved by 38 votes to 0 on Thursday the 10th of June, noted with concern the “massive violations of human rights and freedoms, genocide and crimes against humanity, ethnic discrimination, and the suppression of cultural, religious and political identity in the PRC,” with particular reference to the Xinjiang region. The motion also called for the Czech Government to stage a diplomatic boycott of the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, arguing that their presence could be “misused to legitimize further discrimination, violence and suppression of fundamental rights”.
The result comes ahead of a key vote in the Belgian Parliament on a motion led by Samuel Cogolati MP, which if passed would declare Uyghurs to be victims of Crimes Against Humanity and at “serious risk” of Genocide. The supporters of the motion claim that this would require the Belgian Government to act to prevent these abuses in accordance with its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention. If passed, Belgium would be the sixth parliament to make similar declarations of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity against Uyghurs following the parliaments of the United Kingdom, Canada, Czechia, the Netherlands, and Lithuania. The United States government has also declared Uyghurs to be victims of Genocide.
Pavel Fischer, Czech Senator and Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said:
“We cannot stay silent while the Chinese Government carries out the most brutal persecution of Uyghurs, Tibetans and other groups.”
“I hope that all democratic states will use the Beijing Winter Olympics to signal the strength of our horror at what is taking place in the Uyghur and Tibetan Regions. This isn’t about petty politics. This is about preventing an industrial scale atrocity. Any political leaders that accept invitations to the games risk tacitly condoning these abuses.”
Samuel Cogoalati, Belgian MP and Co-Chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, said:
“The world is slowly waking up to the horrific abuses committed by the Chinese Government against the Uyghurs and other minorities. The Czech vote is further proof of this. Tomorrow the Belgian Parliament has an opportunity to signal to the world that we too will not stand idly by while this suffering continues. We have an unavoidable moral and legal responsibility to prevent the Crime of Genocide wherever we see it at risk of developing.”
OF THE PARLIAMENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC
Adopted at the 12th plenary session held on 10 June 2021
On the 2022 Olympic Games in the People’s Republic of China and the commitments of the host country
I. Recognizes the ideals of the Olympic Charter, which includes among the fundamental values and principles of Olympism the respect for the preservation of human dignity and the prohibition of discrimination based on race, color, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other beliefs, nationality or social origin, property, origin or other status;
II. Notes with concern, that
1. There are massive violations of human rights and freedoms, genocide and crimes against humanity, ethnic discrimination, and the suppression of cultural, religious and political identity in the PRC, in particular in the Autonomous Regions of Tibet and Xinjiang;
2. The Government of the PRC, despite repeated official requests from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, refuses to grant access to independent missions of the international community;
3. The Government of the PRC, contrary to its commitment to hold the Olympic Games as “free and open”, misused the Olympic Games as early as 2008 to further suppress human rights and freedoms, which was also reflected in massive repression of minorities enjoying special protection under the Olympic Charter;
III. Appeals to
1. The Government of the Czech Republic to evaluate the fulfillment of international human rights obligations by the PRC, to systematically comment on the human rights situation in the PRC at the UN Human Rights Council or the UN General Assembly and to actively support similar initiatives of other states;
2. The Government of the Czech Republic and other political representatives of the Czech Republic to reject the invitation to participate in the Olympic Games in the
PRC, as their presence could be misused to legitimize further discrimination, violence and suppression of fundamental rights;
3. The Czech Olympic Committee, when selecting the organizers of the Games, to ensure their readiness to comply with the principles of the Olympic Charter and their other international obligations and to prevent the abuse of the Olympic Games for political propaganda;
1. The criticism faced by the International Olympic Committee in 2008 for failing to anticipate violations of freedom of expression and of the press by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, which had a negative impact also on the work of the international media and participants in the 2008 Olympic Games;
2. Resolution of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic No. 131 of 20 March 2019 on the Petition for an End to the Genocide of Falun Gong Practitioners Committed by the Chinese Regime;
V. Authorizes the President of the Senate to present this resolution to the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, the Chairman of the Czech Olympic Committee, and the Chairman of the National Sports Agency.
Miloš Vystrčil m.p.
President of the Senate
Petr Štěpánek m.p.