Multinational lawmakers urge investigation of Xinjiang genocide

Recently, dozens of parliamentarians from the Inter-Parliamentary Coalition on China Policy (IPAC) sent a letter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) urging the ICC to take action against the Chinese government for the possible “genocide” ( genocide) to launch an investigation into the allegations. A Uighur group in the United States said Tuesday that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over the matter and that it is up to the court to decide whether it will launch an investigation.

The Transnational Parliamentary Coalition on China Policy, a group formed to counter the Communist Party’s threat to the global order, announced Monday that more than 60 parliamentarians from the group had recently sent a letter to the ICC chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, asking her to hear a complaint from a British human rights lawyer and launch an investigation into his revelations about crimes committed by Beijing authorities against Uighurs.

British Lawyer’s Team Launches Complaint Against Chinese Government

In July, British lawyer Rodney Dixon, who represents two exiled Uighur groups, filed a complaint with the International Criminal Court against the Chinese government’s attempts to repatriate Uighurs in Cambodia and Tajikistan to China, including through mass arrests and deportations. The filing by the legal team, led by Dixon, included a list of more than 30 Chinese officials who were allegedly involved in the operation, including Chinese leader Xi Jinping. They also allege abuses such as the forced detention of millions of Uighurs, mass forced labour and the forced sterilisation of minority women, crimes that could meet the definition of “genocide”.

Zumretay Arkin, director of initiatives at the Germany-based World Uyghur Congress, said that although the WUC was not involved in the complaint, they believed that defining China’s crimes against Uyghurs as “genocide” would help push countries to take tougher policy action.

“We believe that strong language must be used outside to more effectively characterize a crisis, so we hope that the characterization of ‘genocide’ will push the international community to immediately address the issue.”

The open letter from the Transnational Parliamentary Coalition on China Policy was supported by 63 members of parliament from 14 countries, including Britain, France, Italy, Canada and Australia. It is unclear why no U.S. lawmakers signed the open letter. However, the United States is not a party to the International Criminal Court, and the Trump administration also sanctioned two senior officials, including the court’s chief prosecutor, Bensouda, in September this year.

Many lawmakers urge the court to investigate as soon as possible

Although China is not yet a party to the International Criminal Court, the petition submitted by Dickson alleges that China has committed crimes against Uighurs in two States parties, Tajikistan and Cambodia, the open letter states. They urged the Court to comply with its earlier decision that the International Criminal Court has jurisdiction over crimes committed in the territory of its States parties.

The letter urged the court to immediately investigate alleged crimes committed by the Beijing authorities and to gather evidence to determine whether Chinese officials could be prosecuted.

The East Turkestan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM), an international human rights organization that supports the Xinjiang independence movement, held a press conference at its headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, urging the International Criminal Court’s member states to support the charges and recognize China’s crimes against Muslims in Xinjiang as “genocide.

The organization’s founder and chairman, Salih Hudayar, said he did not think the International Criminal Court faced major obstacles in dealing with the complaint, but it mainly depends on whether the court has such a will. He was convinced that China’s actions did meet the definition of a “genocidal” act.

“Tajikistan and Cambodia have repatriated a number of Uighurs and other Muslims to Xinjiang, most of whom have been detained or disappeared.”

National figures push for ‘genocide’ characterisation

Over the past several months, politicians in many countries have pushed their governments to use the term “genocide” to describe the human rights violations committed by China in Xinjiang.

In late September, a number of British parliamentarians launched a motion aimed at granting Uighurs and other Muslim minorities the right to petition a British High Court judge to declare that “genocide” is occurring in China. In mid-October, U.S. President’s National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien said that China was committing “near-genocide” in Xinjiang. He said earlier, Washington is considering the specific vocabulary to describe the situation in Xinjiang. At the end of October, a number of U.S. lawmakers from both parties proposed a bill to define the crimes committed by China in Xinjiang as “genocide”. In the same month, the Canadian House of Commons Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee’s Subcommittee on International Human Rights called China’s actions “genocide” and urged its government to impose sanctions on Chinese officials.

Hudayar said they were pleased with the recent actions taken by the international community, but were also angered by the silence of some countries.

“We condemn the silence of the Muslim world, especially the silence of Muslim leaders like Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Muslim world needs to break the silence and help the most oppressed Muslims in the world, and that is the Muslims of Xinjiang.”

On Tuesday, our correspondent wrote to Dirksen, who filed the brief with the International Criminal Court, and to the U.S. State Department, asking for an update on the progress of the brief and on the U.S. government’s consideration of using the word “genocide,” but no response had been received by the time of publication.