On 9 December, the International Day for the Prevention of Genocide, the Independent People’s Uyghur Tribunal panel found ‘proof beyond reasonable doubt for 9 out of 11 Crimes Against Humanity, for Torture, and for Genocide on the ground of Article 2d (prevention of births) committed by the People’s Republic of China against the Uyghurs.
Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prominent British barrister who chaired the tribunal hearings, said its panel (made up of lawyers and academics) was satisfied China had “affected a deliberate, systematic and concerted policy” to bring about “long-term reduction of Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations”. He added that the panel believed senior officials including the Chinese president Xi Jinping bore “primary responsibility” for the abuses against Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region.
You can read the Tribunal’s summary judgement here
While this judgement does not have any formal legal weight, the judgement does represent a historic finding in two respects:
- That genocide has been found whilst the genocide is still ongoing (rather than in retrospect after the genocide is complete).
- That genocide has been found on the basis of “biological destruction of the unborn part of the Uyghur ethnicity”.
With this judgement, civil society now has the leverage needed to hold the UK (and other) government accountable to take action against the PRC, such as:
- The UK government should openly accuse the People’s Republic of China of genocide, and fulfil its legal obligation as signatory to the 1948 genocide convention to take action.
- The UK government should pass policies aimed at putting specific pressure on the PRC to stop the enforced sterilization, forced abortions and other coercive birth control measures being carried out on Uyghur women.
- Extend the Magnitsky Sanctions to named individuals involved including Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang, and his deputies Zhu Hailun and Zhu Changjie, for perpetrating abuses in the Uyghur Region.
- The UK government should extend protective measures, e.g. immigration provisions including by calling for protection of Uyghur exiles against refoulement and setting up adequate resettlement pathways
- Hold business accountable for their relations with the PRC, including in their supply chains
- States should work together towards coordinated reduction of dependency on the PRC.
The tribunal’s final report follows announcement by the US, Australian, UK and Canadian governments of diplomatic boycotts of the Winter Olympics in China next year.