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We will not remain silent in the face of the continuing genocide of the Uyghur people

Oct 19, 2020 | Publications

The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau
The Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2, Canada 

Dear Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 

Since 2016, the Government of China has committed ongoing mass atrocities against the Uyghur people in East Turkistan (also known as the “Uyghur Region,” (a region that China has called “Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region” since 1955). A classified Chinese government document suggests that there may be up to 1,400 extrajudicial internment facilities in total, excluding prisons, with capacities ranging up to more than 30,000 detainees. In its latest White Paper, the Government of China acknowledged that, between 2014-2019, an average of 1.29 million people in the region per year have gone through “Vocational Training,” a term used to describe detention facilities. 

Various reports have documented that Uyghurs are subjected to severe physical and mental torture in the camps, as well as forced labour on a wide scale. China’s government destroyed mosques, shrines, and graveyards, banned Uyghur language, separated families from their children, and created a digital Gulag to eradicate Uyghur identity. 

A recent report detailed a systematic campaign of forced sterilization and forced abortion of Uyghur women and horrible measures deployed to prevent the birth of the Uyghur population. In fact, these acts are defined as Genocide under Article II of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. 

More than 22 Genocide and Atrocity Prevention Organizations from 5 different countries, including 16 senior experts, have expressed their grave concerns for the crimes and genocide taking place against Uyghurs in East Turkistan by China. 

During recent Parliamentary Hearings on July 20th and 21st, prominent Canadian legal experts were joined by survivors of concentration camps to testify on the horrific details and crimes of genocide perpetrated by China’s authorities against Uyghurs. These experts and witnesses urged the Government of Canada to take action on stopping and preventing these actions. 

A number of recently leaked internal Chinese government documents provide hard evidence of the inner workings and extent of the concentration camps and forced labour schemes. These leaks include Operating Manuals for the Mass Internment and Surveillance systems, a comprehensive logbook and more than 400 pages of other internal papers, including speeches from the top, providing an inside look at the implementation of genocidal measures against Uyghurs in East Turkistan. 

In addition, enforced separation of Uyghur children from their parents has reached an unprecedented level. The Government of China has not disclosed the whereabouts of those children and has blocked access to their families. The number of disappeared Uyghur children is estimated at more than half a million. 

According to witness accounts and testimonies, frequent deaths, physical and mental torture, enforced disappearances, mass rape, and enforced marriage of Uyghur girls to Han Chinese, have become widespread in the region. China has met all of the criteria under the UN Genocide Convention, confirming that they are committing genocide against the Uyghur people. China has also been accused of organ harvesting of prisoners of conscience, committing crimes against humanity on an industrial scale. 

We, the undersigned representatives of multi-faith groups, human rights organizations and prominent advocates, are asking our government to uphold its legal obligation as a signatory of the Genocide Convention, and act alongside our international allies, to take concrete action through diplomatic, humanitarian and other effective ways. We should not shy away from calling out China’s horrific acts against the Uyghur people, irrespective of what label might be applied. 

We are urging the Canadian Government to unequivocally condemn the Uyghur genocide and the above described crimes against humanity, and take action as listed below: 

1. Working with partners of the international community to demand the closure of the concentration camps and unfettered access to the region. 

2. Acknowledge and label crimes committed against the Uyghur people as amounting to Genocide with a motion in the Parliament and at the UN Security Council. 

3. Invoke the Magnitsky Act. Hold the perpetrators of violence responsible for the crimes being committed. 

4. Sanction any corporation with supply chains linked with slave labour of Uyghurs unless proven by clear and convincing evidence that the goods were not produced using forced labour. 

5. Establish an emergency refugee relief program to help those persecuted Uyghurs and victim families find asylum in Canada. 

6. Protect the safety and security of Canadian citizens of Uyghur origin. Advocate on their behalf for the release of their family members being held in concentration camps by the Chinese government 

7. Adopt legislation along the lines of Bill S-240 debated in the previous Parliament, making organ trafficking, and engaging in an organ transplant originated from China, as a criminal act punishable in the Criminal Code and integrate this into the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. 

China’s ongoing genocide against the Uyghurs will only get worst unless Canada – as a recognized global leader in defending human rights and international law – plays a leading role to stop it. We cannot and should not remain silent as horrific atrocities are being committed under our watch. 

Endorsed: 

Hassan Ibrahim, General Manager, Abu Huraira Center, North York ON
Action Free Hong Kong Montreal
Steve Matthews, Executive Director, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA Canada)
Faheem Affan, Assistant National Secretary Public Relations, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Ottawa Canada
Mukarram Qurban, Alberta Uyghur Association
Alliance Canada Hong Kong
Abdul Wahid Mamun, Teacher, Ar Rashaad Centre, Brampton ON
Abdul Fatah Omar, Ask a Muslim Canada, Vancouver BC
Imam Mouhammad Butt, Imām, Barrie Mosque
Naila Kibra, National Manager, Being ME Canada
Nedzad Hafizovic, Imam, Bosnian Islamic Centre, Etobicoke ON
Muntaz Alli, Director, Brampton Islamic Centre
Adnan Bhat, President, Bridging Gaps Foundation British Columbia
Iltaf Sahib, President, British Columbia (BC) Muslim Association
Samphe Lhalunpa, Chair, Canada Tibet Committee
Gloria Fun, President, Canada-Hong Kong Link
Joshua Buzzell, Marketing Coordinator, Canadian Association of Multicultural People
Terry G. Smith, Executive Director, Canadian Baptist Ministries
Rev. Tim McCoy, Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Ontario & Quebec
Dr. Graeme Barber MD FRCS(C), Member, Canadian Committee of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China
Imam Refaat Mohamed, President, Canadian Council of Imams (CCI)
Canadian Friends of Hong Kong
Rahat Rao, President, Canadian Muslim Advocacy, Vancouver BC
Communications Director, Canadian Muslim Civil Liberties Association
Yousuf Syed, Co-Founder & Chairman, Canadians Against Oppression & Persecution
Robert Fantina , Executive Board Member, Canadians for Peace and Justice in Kashmir (CPJK)
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl, Rabbi Jonathan Infeld, Rabbi Debra Landsberg, Rabbi Reuben Poupko: Co-Chairs, Canadian Rabbinic Caucus, an affiliate of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
Aliya Khan, Co-chair, Canadians in Support of Refugees in Dire Need
Fareed Khan, Founder, Canadians United Against Hate / Canadiens Unis Contre la Haine!
Rev. Dr. Andrew P.W. Bennett, Director, Cardus Religious Freedom Institute
Ahmad Al Qadi, President, Carleton University Muslim Students’ Association
Dr. Majid Kazi, President, Centre for Islamic Knowledge, Mississauga ON
Ahmed Limame, Imam, Centre islamique de l’Outaouais Mosquée de Gatineau/Outaouais Islamic Centre, Gatineau QC
Reverend Dr.Ian Fitzpatrick, National Director, Church of the Nazarene Canada
Helen Pinsky, President, Congregation Beth Israel, Vancouver BC
Muneeb Nasir, Executive Director, Cordoba Centre for Civic Engagement & Leadership
Feras Marish, Vice President, DAR Foundation, Oakville ON
Abdulrezzak Muhammed, Director, Darman Foundation, Etobicoke ON
Tuyghun Abduweli, East Turkistan Association of Canada
David Lavigne, Bishop, Evangelical Christian Church in Canada (Christian Disciples)
Tim Dyck, Executive Director, Evangelical Mennonite Conference
Sheng Xue, Vice President, Federation for a Democratic China, Canada
Maninder Gill, President, Friends of Canada India Organization
Carmel Tanaka, Genocide Prevention, British Columbia
Mahwish Yousaf, Global Peace Society, Surrey BC
Treenee Lopez, Global Pinoy Diaspora Canada
Halifax-Hong Kong Link
Sh. Abdullah Hatia, Imam, Halton Islamic Association, ON
Fatima Benhatta, Human Concern International (HCI), Toronto
Osman Khan, Secretary, Imdadul Islamic Centre, North York ON
Mahmood Qasim, Chief Executive Officer, International Development and Relief Foundation (IDRF), Toronto ON
Bakhtiar Semseddin, President, International Support for Uyghurs
Islam Care Centre, Ottawa ON
Imam Ilyas Sidyot, Imam and Director of Religious Affairs, Islamic Association of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon) Inc
Dr. Munir El-Kassem, Director of Religious Affairs, Islamic Centre of Southwest Ontario
Navaid Aziz, Imam/Director, Islamic Information Society of Calgary (IISC)
Chihab Kaab, Board Chair, Islamic Society of North America (ISNA Canada)
Imam Syed Soharwardy, Founder, Islamic Supreme Council of Canada
Jewish Support of Uygur Freedom
Taha Ghayyur, Executive Director, Justice for All Canada (JFAC)
Charles Burton, Senior Fellow , Macdonald-Laurier Institute
Dasu Sufiyan, Founder and Principal, Madrasah Tahfeezul Quraan
Dr. Idris Elbakri, Chair, Manitoba Islamic Association
Masjid al-Farooq Islamic Centre, Mississauga ON
Sheikh Suleiman, Imam, Masjid Rahmatul Lil ‘Aalamien, Mississauga ON
Omar Subedar, Vice President, Mathabah Institute, Toronto ON
McMaster Stands with Hong Kong
Aman Khan, President, Meadowvale Islamic Centre, Mississauga ON
Farina Siddiqui, President, MomLinks Canada
Kyle Mathew, Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS), Concordia University
Sharaf Sharafeldin, CEO, Muslim Association of Canada (MAC)
Aamna Siddiqui, Manager, Muslim Canadian Media Network (MCMN Media)
Muslim Family Services of Ottawa
Ayub Hamid, President, Muslim Neighbour Nexus, Mississauga ON
Dr. Athar Mahmood, President, Muslims Against Terrorism, Calgary
Tanweer Ebrahim, Executive Director, Nisa Helpline, Toronto ON
Samira Kanji, President & CEO, Noor Cultural Centre, North York ON
Mohammad Adi, President, Ottawa Muslim Association
Ottawa Post-Secondary Institutions’ Hong Kong Awareness Group
Ottawans Stand with Hong Kong
Dr. Rev. Victoria Marie, Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society, Vancouver BC
David Hazzard, General Secretary Treasurer, Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada
Hon. Irwin Cotler, Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights
Rev. Marijke Stron, Executive Secretary, Regional Synod of Canada – Reformed Church in America
Board of Directors, Rohingya Human Rights Network Canada
Rev. Zenji Nio, CEO, Samurai Center for Human Rights
Saskatchewan Stands with Hong Kong
Nadeem Sheikh, President, Scarborough Muslim Association
Mohammed Nouman, Imam/Principal, Scarborough Muslim Association, ON
Mahmood Jaffer, Director of Public Relations & Communications, Shia Muslim Community of British Columbia
Siraj Institute, Ottawa ON
Canon Stuart Pike, Rector, St. Luke’s Anglican Church Burlington
Imam Azfar Ayub Rizvi , President, Sunni Imam Council of Canada
Jean Chen, President, Taiwanese Canadian Association of Toronto
Apak Song, President, Taiwanese Human Rights Association of Canada
Haroon Salamat, Chairman, Taric Islamic Center (Toronto and Region Islamic Congregation)
Rev. Dr. David Hearn, President, The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada
Steven Jones, National President, The Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches in Canada
Rev. Dr. Cliff Fletcher, Bishop, The Free Methodist Church in Canada
Rev. Amanda Currie, Moderator, The Presbyterian Church in Canada
Cheuk Kwan, Toronto Association for Democracy in China (TADC)
Obul Hasan, Toronto Uyghur Mosque
Aasem Abdelaziz, President, University of British Columbia Muslim Students Association (MSA UBC)
Ahmed Sandhu, President, University of Ottawa Muslim Students Association (UOMSA)
Yousef Kasim, President, Uyghur Canadian Learning Center
Kayum Masimov, Uyghur Canadian Solidarity
Mehmet Tohti, Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund (URRF) Canada
Mehmet Tohti, Executive Director, Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project (URAP), Toronto ON
Vancouver Christians for Love, Peace and Justice
Mabel Tung, Vancouver Society in Support of Democratic Movement (VSSDM)
Louis Huang, Vancouver Society of Freedom, Democracy & Human Rights for China
Nurly Rozi, President, Vancouver Uyghur Association
Vancouverites Concerned About Hong Kong
Waterloo Lion Rock Spirit
Rev. Phil M. Wagler, North American Regional Director, World Evangelical Alliance Peace & Reconciliation Network
Andrew Yeh, Chair, World United Formosans for Independence—Canada
Hafsa Siddiqui, Founder, YATA Talks, Mississauga ON
Erum Imam, York Regional Community Support Hon. David Kilgour, Former Secretary of State Asia-Pacific, Nobel Peace Prize nominee 

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