Over 200 people across Canada on July 18 joined a rally outside PM Justin Trudeau’s office in Ottawa in a bid to call the Canadian government to take action to stop the Uyghur genocide in China. According to ANI, the demonstration was joined by women and children. An Uyghur Muslim, Bilal Malik, completed his 15-day march to Ottawa and reached Trudeau’s office to deliver a joint letter signed by various organisations, urging the Canadian government and Olympic committee to boycott the Beijing winter games, which is set to begin on February 4, 2022.

Sunday’s protest was also against the 33 Canadian senators’ decision to not recognise the Uyghur genocide in China. A protester said that they were standing outside Trudeau’s office in a bid to tell the government that what they are doing is “unacceptable” as Canadians. “They have to remember, Canada not only has a moral obligation, at the same time Canada has legal obligation to stand up and stop ongoing genocide,” the protester added.

The demonstrations come after 33 Canadian Senators voted against a bill brought forward by Senator Leo Housakos that calls on the Senate to recognise China’s genocide. Independent Senators Group (ISG) leader Yuen Pau Woo said in the Senate on June 28, that Canada should avoid criticising China for its human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims because “our country has been mistreated, indigenous people”. However, as Canadians, protesters said that because Canada mistreated indigenous people in the past, it is more obligated than any other country in this world not to allow these kinds of genocidal acts to happen even again anywhere.

Xinjiang dispute

Meanwhile, roughly 11 million Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority that speak a language closely related to Turkish and have their own distinct culture, live in alleged ‘concentration camps’ in China’s Xinjiang autonomous region. The US, Britain and Canada have described China’s policies in Xinjiang as “genocide”. However, the Chinese government has rejected the allegations and characterised the camps, which it says are now closed, as vocational training centres to teach the Chinese language, job skills and the law in order to support economic development and combat extremism.

The rights groups, on the other hand, accused Beijing of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour. The European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States have sanctioned several members of Xinjiang’s political and economic hierarchy in coordinated action over the allegations. The US State Department estimates that since 2017, up to two million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities could have passed through the camp system, which China calls vocational training centres designed to fight extremism. Reports by Western media have also revealed that Chinese authorities were deliberately sending Uyghur women of childbearing age into forced abortions, intrauterine injections and sterilisation in the region.

(With inputs from ANI)