A cross-party international group of female parliamentarians have released a statement highlighting the abuse of Uyghur and other religious and ethnic minority women in China’s Xinjiang region to mark International Women’s Day. The statement, released in video format by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, calls for governments to pursue legal investigations into alleged genocide taking place in the region.
The video features Tursunay Ziawudun, survivor of the Xinjiang prison camps, prominent exiled Uyghur activist Rahima Mahmut and IPAC parliamentarians representing seven legislatures. Parliamentarians featured include Senator Kimberley Kitching, Chair of the Australian Senate Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee; Gyde Jensen MdB, Chair of the Bundestag Committee on Human Rights and Humanitarian Aid; Nusrat Ghani MP, co-sponsor of the ‘genocide amendmen’t to the UK Trade Bill; Shiori Yamao, member of the Japanese House of Representatives and Heather McPherson MP, backer of the recent genocide declaration by the Canadian Parliament.
The statement calls for democratic countries to “pursue all domestic and international avenues” for legal investigations into alleged genocide and crimes against humanity in the region, referencing a formal legal opinion from UK judges declaring a ‘credible case’ that these abuses are taking place. In recent months IPAC members Senator Marco Rubio, Garnett Genuis MP and Martijn van Helvert MP have sponsored legislation declaring China’s of treatment of Uyghurs as a genocide, seeing success in the United States, Canada and the Netherlands respectively.
Senator Kimberley Kitching (Australia, Labor) commented:
“The Chinese government’s brutal persecution of the ethnic and religious minorities in the Xinjiang region is a burden borne most heavily by Uyghur women. Mounting evidence documents the most horrific and unspeakable atrocities against Uyghur women, including forced sterilizations, systematic rape and torture and incarceration in the region’s vast prison camp network.
Condemning the abuses is not enough. So long as the international community fails to take meaningful action to hold the Chinese government to account then these atrocities will continue.”
Yasmin Qureshi MP (United Kingdom, Labour) commented:
“So long as investigations led by the UN and international courts are blocked by China, governments across the world must find alternative means to make legal determinations on the alleged genocide and crimes against humanity taking place in the Xinjiang region.
The UK government must accept the revised ‘genocide amendment’ to the Trade Bill, allowing a panel of British judges to make a preliminary determination on the crime of genocide. Only then will we begin to see hope for justice for the Uyghur people.”
Miriam Lexmann MEP (European Parliament, European People’s Party) commented:
“While Uyghur women continue to suffer the most extreme persecution, Europe continues to do ‘business as usual’ with China, allowing the Chinese Communist Party to escape with impunity.
Our values must be at the heart of all our policies – they cannot be divorced from areas such as trade or investment. We must ensure that human rights form the basis of the EU-China CAI investment deal and all our interactions with China.”