Belgian MPs denounce risk of genocide against Uyghurs in China

The Belgian Parliament becomes the sixth assembly to denounce Beijing’s actions on this community and other minorities in Xinjiang

After the British deputies in April, it is the turn of the Belgian deputies to put the word “genocide” on the repression of the Uyghurs in China. On Tuesday, Belgian MPs voted in a Committee on External Relations, a resolution warning of a “serious risk of genocide” against the Muslim minority. The vote must be confirmed in plenary session in the House of Representatives on July 1, said the ecologist deputy Samuel Cogolati, at the origin of this resolution.

This elected representative, who has been among the Europeans targeted since the end March by sanctions from China, initially intended to have the Belgian Parliament recognize the “crime of genocide” of which Beijing is guilty in its eyes. But a debate within the majority coalition in Belgium (mainly associating environmentalists, liberals and socialists) resulted last week in a watered-down version of the motion for a resolution.

Learning lessons from Rwanda and Srebenica

Samuel Cogolati however greeted Tuesday “a historic vote, still unimaginable a few months ago”. After those of Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Lithuania and the Czech Republic, the Belgian Parliament becomes “the 6th democratic assembly in the world” to denounce the “crimes against humanity” in progress against the Uyghurs, according to the initiators of the text.

The resolution was passed almost unanimously in the committee “minus two abstentions from the PTB” (Labor Party of Belgium, communist), underlined Samuel Cogolati. “Today, a large democratic majority is sending a very strong signal to Beijing to end the atrocities against the Uyghurs,” the Ecolo party said in a statement. “For the first time, we are learning the lessons of Rwanda and Srebenica, we do not wait and we act before it is too late, taking all measures against a serious risk of ongoing genocide”, a- he added.

Imprisonment, torture, persecution

On Sunday the leaders of the major powers of the G7 called on China to “respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms” of the Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region as well as rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, while saying it wants to cooperate with Beijing when “it is in a mutual interest”. The NGO Amnesty International qualifies as “crimes against humanity” what China inflicts on Uyghurs, Kazakhs and its other Muslim minorities: imprisonment, torture, persecution.

In a report published this This month, Amnesty details the mass imprisonments since 2017, which would number in the hundreds of thousands, to which are added the internments in camps, which would reach the million. In addition to freezing the EU-China investment agreement (whose ratification process has already been frozen by the European Parliament), the Belgian resolution also advocates the end of the extradition agreement between China and Belgium if these violations endure.