China's continued violation of basic human rights and atrocities against the Uyghur people in East Turkistan has drawn global ire. Activist groups and communities around the world have been fighting tooth and nail to highlight China's actions on an international platform. They have all been calling world leaders to build pressure on China's ruling Communist Party to end the genocide - a term used by activists but not recognised by any country's government.

In a first, Canada's Subcommittee on International Human Rights of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development has set a precedent by declaring the Uyghur crisis a genocide. It is the first government body to publicly acknowledge the Uyghur crisis fits the criteria for genocide.

Uighur Muslims
A Uyghur family in ChinaKevin Frayer/Getty Images

"If the international community does not condemn the human rights abuses in Xinjiang province by the Government of China, a precedent will be set, and these methods will be adopted by other regimes. Complacency is entrenched by a lack of access to Xinjiang; by the lack of free press; and through the silencing and harassment of Uyghurs living abroad," the Subcommittee said, detailing the counts of plights faced by Uyghurs Muslims based on testimony from witnesses.

China's atrocities on Uyghur Muslims

China's genocide of Uyghur Muslims sees no end. Mass detection of nearly 2 million Uyghur and other Turkic Muslims, including men, women and children, in camps. Witnesses describe the detention as the largest mass detention of minorities since the Holocaust.

Survivors described the horrors of being placed in such camps. People are abused sexually, physically and psychologically. They are not allowed to speak Uyghur language, practice their religion, forced labour, pervasive state surveillance, forcing IUDs, sterilizations and abortions to control the population.

China concentration camps prisoners
Leaked video posted to YouTube in 2019 appeared to show hundreds of male prisoner in one of the concentration camps in Xinjiang, tied up and wearing blindfolds.Courtesy: Youtube

Canada could hit China where it hurts

The only way to respond to China's atrocities is with force and hitting where it hurts the most. The Subcommittee proposes the Canadian government to "work with its international allies and multilateral organizations to condemn the Government of China's use of concentration camps to unlawfully and unjustly detain Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims."

Furthermore, the Canadian government must issue notices to Canadian companies whose supply chains rely on forced labour of Uyghur and enhance import control mechanisms to prevent products made with forced labour.

More importantly, the government body noted that it is important for the Government of Canada to recognize that the acts being committed in Xinjiang against Uyghurs constitute genocide and work within legal frameworks of international bodies to recognize that acts being committed against Uyghurs to constitute genocide. And also, impose sanctions on all CCP officials responsible for the human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims.

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"Canada has a responsibility to protect Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims under the international norm that it helped to establish, the Responsibility to Protect, of which the objective is to ensure the international community prevents mass atrocity crimes of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The Subcommittee was reminded that protection can come in many forms. This includes the use of sanctions," the Subcommittee noted.

Responding to the stand taken by the Canadian Subcommittee, World Uyghur Congress said: "We thank the Canadian Subcommittee recognizing that the atrocities against Uyghurs constitute genocide and for proposing concrete and meaningful action for Canada to take to address this crisis," said WUC President Dolkun Isa. "We urge R.Hon. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government to adopt and implement the conclusions of the committee and to demonstrate that Canada will not sit idly by while a genocide takes place."