Canadian lawmakers back resettlement of 10,000 Uyghur Muslims | World News - Hindustan Times
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Canadian lawmakers back resettlement of 10,000 Uyghur Muslims

Feb 02, 2023 04:24 PM IST

Canada’s House of Commons has unanimously passed a motion to take in 10,000 Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims who have left China, mainly fleeing from repression in the province of Xinjiang.

Canada’s House of Commons has unanimously passed a motion to take in 10,000 Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims who have left China, mainly fleeing from repression in the province of Xinjiang.

Uyghur leaders with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on January 30. (Mehmet Tohti/Twitter)
Uyghur leaders with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on January 30. (Mehmet Tohti/Twitter)

The motion was moved by Liberal Party MP Sameer Zuberi and received all 322 votes cast including those from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his Cabinet.

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The text of the motion also says it is “recognizing that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People’s Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.”

That is a significant section as Trudeau and every member of his Cabinet had stayed away from a vote in February 2021 on a motion that defined Chinese actions in Xinjiang as meeting the threshold to be termed as “genocide.” Four months before that, the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development had also described the persecution of the minority Uyghur community and other Turkic Muslims in the Chinese province of Xinjiang as “genocide” and called upon the Government to recognize it as such and impose sanctions against Chinese Government officials considered responsible for perpetration of human rights abuses in the region.

A delegation of Uyghur leaders including President of the World Uyghur Congress in Munich Dolkun Isa; Executive Director of the Uyghur Human Rights Project in Washington Omer Kanat; and Executive Director of the Canada-based Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project Mehmet Tohti were present as the motion was carried. Support was already evident as Trudeau met community leaders in Ottawa on January 30.

Tohti tweeted, “Historic vote for Canada. Historic day for Uyghurs and Canadian parliament. Strong message to China and other countries.”

The motion recognizes those who fled China face “pressure and intimidation” to return and that the countries where they are now face “continued diplomatic and economic pressure” from Beijing “to detain and deport” them.

It asked Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or IRCC to use its Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program to expedite the entry of 10,000 Uyghurs and others “in need of protection.” It is expected to commence next year.

IRCC is expected to submit a report on how the resettlement plan will be implemented.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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