Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL9458):
Question from Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the decision of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights in the Canadian Parliament to designate actions by the government of China against its Uyghur population to be a genocide; and what plans they have, if any, to enable an appropriate judicial authority in the UK (1) to consider the same evidence, and (2) to reach a determination, on this matter. (HL9458)
Tabled on: 22 October 2020
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon:
We are aware of the decision of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights in the Canadian Parliament. It is the long-standing policy of the British Government that any judgment as to whether war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide have occurred is a matter for independent judicial decision. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations of international law, and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes.
Before the decision of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights in the Canadian Parliament to designate actions by the government of China against its Uyghur population to be a genocide Irwin Cotler, a former Liberal justice minister, and international human rights lawyer, urged Canada’s Parliament to become the first to define China’s “mass atrocities” against the country’s Uighur minority as genocide. He had said that “Indifference in such mass atrocities, let alone genocide, always means coming down on the side of the victimizer and not on the side of the victims,” Cotler, is now the chair of the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights,
The Canadian House of Commons subcommittee considered evidence of human rights abuses, including mass incarceration and forced sterilization, targeting Uighur Muslims and ethnic Kazakhs in northwestern China.
Cotler said that what made the genocide in Rwanda (which shed one million lives) ” so unspeakable, is that it was preventable. Nobody could say we did not know . We knew but we did not act. Just as now with regard to the Uighurs, nobody could say that we do not know. We know and we must act.”