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To: The UK Government

Help stop the UK doing trade with countries that are guilty of genocide

The UK Government should not be trading with countries that are committing genocide - and there should be a clear and workable way to decide if countries fall into this category.

Why is this important?

The UK is proud of its record on global human rights. Yet post-Brexit it’s negotiating and agreeing new trading relationships with countries around the world and human rights aren’t always a priority. Some of those potential new trading partners are complicit in genocide.

China is one example. It is systematically destroying the mostly Muslim Uyghur population in the north-western region of Xinjiang.

A recent report found that it is using policies and practices such mass deaths, selective death sentences, and long-term imprisonment of elders, systemic torture and cruel treatment including sexual abuse and torture, interrogations and indoctrination, the targeted detention of Uyghur community leaders and people of childbearing age, forced sterilisation, family separation, mass labour transfer schemes, and the transfer of Uighur children to state-run orphanages and boarding schools. There are also reports of forced live organ harvesting, a practice to which other minorities, including religious groups such as Falun Gong practitioners, have routinely been subjected.

Doing trade with countries that engage in genocide is deeply immoral and I think Parliament needs a way to stop it happening.

The Government is trying to block Parliament from deciding what counts as genocide, arguing it’s a decision for the courts. This makes sense but there is currently no route for such a decision to be made and, in the case of the Uyghurs, consideration by both the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice will be blocked by China.

All of which means trade deals with countries like China cannot be stopped unless an alternative way forward is found.

The Trade Bill is going through Parliament and I support a plan to allow five members of the House of Lords to carry out, if needed, a rigorous legal analysis of the available evidence, and decide if genocide is occurring. Then the UK can properly fulfil its responsibilities under the Geneva Convention and not trade with countries responsible for committing genocide.

We need a firm commitment that the UK will stand up for human rights on the global stage and not try to trade with any nation guilty of genocide.

Category


Reasons for signing

  • Money is not more important than humanity.
  • Don't let evil run wild
  • How can I enjoy a product knowing that someone has suffered in order to make it? I would rather pay more for something made fairly. We stopped child labour etc in our own country over a century ago so why is it all right to support other countries in using it? My parents and others fought the 2nd world war against brutal treatment towards people because of their beliefs and other ‘differences’. Those who make decisions should remember this

Updates

2021-05-07 13:19:28 +0100

Hi everyone - I wanted to let you know that the UK Government came up with a compromise on this that meant they had enough votes to pass the Trade Bill without including what we wanted on deals with countries complicit in genocide.

The Brighton and Hove MPs and plenty of others continued to oppose the Government but were outnumbered.
The compromise falls far short but even that wouldn't have happened without the pressure we helped create - so thank you for backing this petition.

I will keep fighting for support from the UK to combat states committing genocide.

2021-04-22 22:46:09 +0100

Today British MPs voted to pass a motion declaring that China is committing genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang province.
Speaking in the debate, MP Nus Ghani said genocide meant intent to "destroy in whole or in part" a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, and "All five criteria of genocide are evidenced as taking place in Xinjiang". Ms Ghani said detainees were subject to "brutal torture methods, including beatings with metal prods, electric shocks and whips".
However, the government opposed the motion arguing that deeming an event to be a genocide was a matter for "competent national and international courts after consideration of all the available evidence".
The UK government needs to pressure on China more severely on the genocide that’s happening in Xinjiang and other parts of China.

2021-03-26 13:32:35 +0000

Today China has announced travel bans and asset freezes on nine people, including Sir Ian Duncan Smith, Tory MP Neil O'Brien, Lord David Alton, Conservative MPs Tim Loughton and Nusrat Ghani, Labour's Baroness Helena Kennedy, barrister Geoffrey Nice, Joanne Nicola Smith Finley, and chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat.

It comes after UK imposed sanctions on senior Chinese officials following reported human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims such as torture and forced labour.

China has detained Uighurs at camps in the north-west region of Xinjiang, where allegations of torture, forced labour and sexual abuse have emerged.

It is time for UK to stand up for human rights on the global stage and not try to trade with any nation guilty of genocide.

2021-03-24 16:31:50 +0000

MPs have voted on the latest proposal for preventing trade deals with countries that are responsible for genocide. The majority (318 to 300) voted against Parliament being allowed to determine whether genocide was taking place and block trade deals as a result. This is deeply disappointing. The House of Lords will now have to decide whether to stick with its principled stand - or let the Government strike trade deals with countries that are guilty of genocide.

The Foreign Secretary has also announced new sanctions against some of the actors responsible for human rights abuses against the Uyghurs and these are very welcome. There is now acknowledgement too from the Government of the principle that genocide and trade are linked. However, these achievements are not a replacement for a trade deal framework that better respects human rights, and I am going to continue campaigning on this for as long as the Trade Bill is still being debated by Parliament.

2021-03-18 09:17:43 +0000

1,000 signatures reached

2021-03-17 16:42:00 +0000

500 signatures reached

2021-03-17 12:24:16 +0000

100 signatures reached

2021-03-17 12:04:34 +0000

50 signatures reached

2021-03-17 11:36:18 +0000

25 signatures reached

2021-03-17 11:25:15 +0000

10 signatures reached