Ottawa ready to welcome 10,000 Uyghur refugees “intimidated” by Beijing

Canada is once again supporting the Uyghurs. MPs passed a motion on Wednesday to welcome 10,000 Uyghur refugees who fled China and continue to be “bullied” by Beijing. This motion, tabled at the initiative of the Liberals, currently in power, was adopted unanimously.

The text aims to “accelerate the entry into the country of 10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in need of protection for a period of two years from 2024”. Motions of this type are not binding on the executive, but the program was approved by the government of Justin Trudeau and long applause followed the adoption of the text on Wednesday.

A “clear signal” in favor of human rights

“What has just happened is historic” and it is a “clear signal that we do not accept human rights violations against the Uyghurs”, declared Sameer Zuberi, the deputy initiating the motion. The text recognizes that they “fleed to third countries to escape the pressure and intimidation exerted by the Chinese state to push them to return to China”.

The document also accuses Beijing of exerting diplomatic and economic pressure on the countries that host these refugees. If they return to China, they expose themselves to “high risks” of mass arbitrary detentions, forced labor and imposed sterilizations, the text further specifies.

The motion also comes two years after Canada passed another non-binding motion equating China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority with “genocide.” Beijing then denounced a “malicious provocation”.

The Uyghurs, Sunni Muslims speaking a Turkic language, represent the main ethnic group in Xinjiang, in northwestern China, a region long hit by bloody attacks attributed to Islamists and separatists. In response, the Chinese authorities in the mid-2010s launched a vast campaign of repression in the name of anti-terrorism.

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