Statement by Green Party Leader Annamie Paul on today’s vote on the opposition motion on genocide

OTTAWA –  "Today’s abstention by the Prime Minister and his cabinet flies in the face of the evidence regarding the crimes being perpetrated against the Uighur and other Muslim minorities by the Chinese government; crimes that are most accurately described as genocide, as defined under Article II of Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Canada’s Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Antisemitism, the United States Secretary of State, and the Parliamentary subcommittee on international human rights have all come to this conclusion. 

"While very disappointing, it is important to note that today’s abstention by the Prime Minister and his cabinet does nothing to negate his government’s obligation to act under international law, which states that even if a country is only aware that there is a serious risk that a genocide is occurring or might occur, it must do everything within its power to prevent the genocide from taking place.  

“Canada is not powerless, and it has a variety of multilateral and unilateral options available to respond to the genocide against the Uighur and other Muslim minorities in China. In order to fulfil its international obligations, the Green Party of Canada believes the government should: 

(a)   Strongly condemn and raise international awareness of the direct evidence regarding the ongoing genocide; 

(b)   Be the lead convener of discussions with international allies to explore all options for bringing China back into compliance with international law, including the use of all available diplomatic and economic mechanisms; and  

(c)   Consider which unilateral actions Canada should additionally undertake to secure China's compliance with international law. 

“I note that our government has said on numerous occasions that Canada has a feminist foreign policy. The Prime Minister and his Cabinet have also said they are feminists, and that ‘women’s rights are human rights,’ including sexual and reproductive rights. It is therefore hard to understand why the government would fail to respond to a systemic, mass-scale, and intentional policy of forced sterilisation, forced separation of children from their families, forced abortion, and systematic rape. 

“The President of the United States’ administration believes that an ongoing genocide is being perpetrated against the Uighur and other Muslim minorities by the Chinese government. I am hopeful that President Biden will use the occasion of his first meeting with the Prime Minister to raise this urgent issue with him, and to discuss a coordinated international response.” 

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