Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) are leading a cross-party group of MPs threatening to defeat the UK government on a ‘genocide amendment’ to the Trade Bill. If passed, the UK would become the first country in the world to allow genocide cases to be considered in domestic courts.
The amendment is supported by all major opposition parties in the House of Commons, with prominent IPAC Conservative MPs Sir Iain Duncan-Smith, Nusrat Ghani and Bob Seely having announced their intention to lead a backbench rebellion. The amendment is the brainchild of IPAC Coordinator Luke de Pulford who has run the campaign in the House of Lords and House of Commons.
The amendment is designed to enable UK courts to make an advisory preliminary genocide judgement for governments to consider when signing trade deals with states accused of committing genocide.
The vote will take place in the House of Commons today after passing with overwhelming cross party support in the House of Lords last month, achieving a majority of 287 to 181 votes.
Forty IPAC MPs are expected to take part in the vote in the Commons, with the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute having also announced their support for the amendment in recent days.
Luke de Pulford, IPAC coordinator commented:
“The Uyghur people are begging their friends in Parliament to pass this amendment. They need their day in court. Without it the government won’t call it a Genocide and won’t act”
Sir Iain Duncan-Smith MP, former Conservative Party leader and IPAC co-chair commented:
“If passed, this amendment would send a strong signal that Britain will lead the world in holding perpetrators of genocide to account for their actions. For too long we have looked the other way on genocide, now is the chance to change that. The Uyghurs must be given their chance to seek justice in UK courts.”
Yasmin Qureshi, Labour Shadow International Development Minister and IPAC member commented:
“For too long the UK has failed to act on cases of alleged genocide across the world. Today we have the chance to change this. Only by giving UK courts the powers to make preliminary genocide determinations can we stop authoritarian regimes blocking the route to justice for Uyghurs and other persecuted groups.”
Layla Moran, Liberal Democrats Foreign Affairs Spokesperson and IPAC member commented:
“History is watching us. The Commons has the chance to say ‘never again’ and put human rights at the very heart of UK trade policy. We can’t stand by and shirk our responsibility under international law. Now is the time to stand up and take action for victims of the most grotesque of human rights abuses worldwide, including the Uyghur people.”
Nusrat Ghani, Conservative MP and IPAC member commented:
“Britain must be on the right side of history. This is our first chance outside the EU to show what our values really mean and what Global Britain stands for. Why would we want to use our new found freedom to trade with states that commit and profit from genocide? Britain is better than that.”