Trade Bill Amendment to review deals with countries involved in genocide

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Persecution of the Uyghurs in Xinjiang province

The lead Catholic Bishop for international affairs has joined with Jewish, Anglican and Muslim leaders to condemn persecution of the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province, China, and support an amendment to the government’s Trade Bill, which would require the UK to review trade deals with countries involved in genocide.

In a letter, published in the Times, the religious leaders state:

From the perspectives of our different faiths and traditions, we stand united in our denunciation of the treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang.

Mounting evidence of a targeted birth prevention strategy which, along with the destruction of cemeteries, reports of mass incarceration, indoctrination, extrajudicial detention, invasive surveillance, enslavement and forced labour, can no longer be ignored.

Today, the House of Commons has a rare chance to act as the all-party Genocide Amendment, which passed overwhelmingly in the House of Lords, comes before the House.

In line with long-standing government policy that genocide recognition is a matter for judges, not politicians, the amendment would give UK courts the chance to review evidence of genocide and, where that high threshold is met, for trade agreements with the offending country to be reviewed. Critically, the amendment would provide a sound legal basis for government action, something that is at present unobtainable through the United Nations, due to the misuse of Security Council veto powers.

Elie Wiesel once remarked that “Whoever listens to a witness becomes a witness”. As contemporary witnesses we have a duty to speak with one voice and a duty to act. We hope that this amendment will be passed and a new chapter in our approach to genocide can begin.

Rt Rev Declan Lang
Catholic Bishop of Clifton

Edwin Shuker
Vice President Board of Deputies of British Jews

Nasar Mahmood OBE
British Muslim Heritage Centre

Faruk Miah MBE FRSA
Conservative Muslim Forum

Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen
Anglican Bishop of Truro