UK Parliamentary Committee Puts Out Uyghur-Language Report on Abuses in Xinjiang

A UK parliamentary report cataloguing human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and calling for international action to halt atrocities has been published in the Uyghur language to support the embattled Turkic Muslim group, lawmakers said.

Monday’s Uyghur-language version follows the July 8 release of “Never Again: The UK’s Responsibility to Act on Atrocities in Xinjiang and Beyond,” by the cross-party Foreign Affairs Committee that targets abuses including arbitrary detentions, torture, and the use of forced Uyghur labor in the XUAR.

The 39-page report calls the atrocities in Xinjiang “an international call to action,” showing that “powerful actors are able to oppress people within their territory with impunity.”

“The Government should accept Parliament’s view that Uyghurs and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang are suffering genocide and crimes against humanity, and take action to bring these crimes to an end,” the report says.

The report urges the UK government to pressure China to allow international observers access to Xinjiang, to lead efforts to create a coalition of democratic countries to drive U.N. and other international action on the XUAR, and to pursue coordinated sanctions on officials and entities responsible for the abuses.

“I can’t speak for the UK government, but I hope very much that the government will read our report carefully and will take the actions that we all think are so necessary to defend the British people from being complicit by accident in some of the worst human rights violations of this century,” said Tom Tugendhat, a British Conservative Party politician who has chaired the UK parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee since 2017.

The Uyghur version of the policy paper was issued because “we thought it was important that the community we were talking about would have the possibility to read the report,” he told RFA on Tuesday.

The report also recommends a partial boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, consideration of a ban on cotton products produced in the XUAR, and a legal requirement for businesses and public sector bodies to take measures to prevent and remove the use of forced labor in their supply chains.

“Through regulating the private sector by implementing stricter rules for businesses that may otherwise profit from forced labor, we can help prevent abuse,” the report said.

“By providing greater support and safeguards for Uyghur people and the preservation of their culture, we can protect them against acts which the House of Commons has stated constitute crimes against humanity and genocide,” it said.

The UK parliament determined that China’s policies in the XUAR constitute genocide, as have other democratic legislatures in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Canada, the Netherlands, and Lithuania.

In January, the U.S. government determined that serious rights abuses against Uyghurs in the region were part of a campaign of genocide, and in June, a German parliamentary committee declared that the abuses constitute crimes against humanity.

China has angrily rejected international scrutiny and criticism over Xinjiang, arguing that its policies are aimed at combating extremism and maintain stability in the region.

Reported by Kurban Niyaz for RFA’s Uyghur Service. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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