Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet to support a motion to make room in its refugee intake for 10,000 Uyghur and other Turkic groups who fled China
February 1, 2023
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Photo: Reuters)
Liberal MP Sameer Zuberi called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's cabinet to support a motion to make room in its refugee intake for 10,000 Uyghur and other Turkic groups who fled China and are now living in third countries like Turkey.
"We support this motion. Uyghurs, along with other minorities in the region, have suffered grave human rights violations from the Chinese government," said Zuberi.
Zuberi's resolution takes its cue from Parliament's 2021 declaration that China is committing genocide against the Uyghurs and other minorities, and it calls on the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to expedite entry into Canada of "10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in need of protection over two years starting in 2024."
Rights groups and media reports say the Chinese government has committed grave human rights violations against Xinjiang's largely Muslim Uyghur population, as well as other minorities.
Forced labour and forced relocation to work in other provinces, China's critics say, is the latest stage in a government-directed effort to exert control in Xinjiang.
A vote on Motion M-62 is set for Wednesday in the House of Commons and Zuberi is urging cabinet ministers to support it.
"It's important that cabinet vote in favour of the motion to resettle the Uyghur," the MP said.
"What matters is that the former UN Human Rights High Commissioner, Michelle Bachelet, determined that what is happening to the Uyghur may constitute crimes against humanity. Once there is the possibility of crimes against humanity, the Responsibility to Protect doctrine is engaged. This means that countries like Canada, which promote the rules-based order, have to do their utmost to address the human rights concerns," he said.
Notably, Bachelet, until recently the UN high commissioner for human rights, visited Xinjiang last year, and her office's report from last August says China has committed "serious human rights violations" against Uyghur Muslims in the region, which may amount to crimes against humanity.
It's been nearly two years since Canada's House of Commons adopted a motion declaring that China's treatment of Uyghurs and other Turkic minorities constitutes genocide. The US government and legislative bodies in the United States, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Ireland have made similar determinations.
Human rights groups estimate more than one million Uyghurs are currently kept in prison-like indoctrination camps, which Beijing calls "re-education camps." Most of the Uyghurs and other Turkic communities have fled to Muslim-majority countries like Turkey, Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia since 2016.
Currently, the president of the World Uyghur Congress is visiting Canada for Motion-62 which is supported by the Friends of Canada-India Foundation.