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Canada PM Trudeau slammed for abstaining from Uighur rights vote

Justin Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from the Monday vote [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 February, 2021

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A US-based Uighur rights group slammed Trudeau's decision as a 'complete disappointment'.
A US-based Uighur rights group has expressed its disappointment at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to abstain from a parliamentary meeting on Uighur rights.

Canada's parliament passed a non-binding motion on Monday saying China's treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang province constitutes genocide. Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from the vote.

"It is a complete disappointment, as the Uyghur Movement has expressed, that the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Cabinet abstained from this decision made by the House of Commons," the Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) rights group said in a statement.

"The abstention of a government and its prime minister to subjecting the Uyghurs to the genocide, which says it is an example to the international public in defending human rights, shows that these claims are in vain," the statement added.

The CFU also slammed Europe for its apparent inaction on the issue, and for forgetting "its 'never again' commitments after the Holocaust".
Read also: Biden appears to downplay Uighur genocide, calling it part of China's 'different norms'

The motion passed by Canada's parliament, however, was praised as an "encouraging step for both the Canadian Government and other governments to recognise the Uyghur genocide".

Canada's House of Commons voted 266-0 in favour of the motion tabled by the opposition Conservative Party on Monday. While backbenchers from Trudeau's Liberal Party broadly backed the motion, the premier and his cabinet abstained.

A last-minute ammendment to the motion also added a plea to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to move the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing if abuses continue.

More than one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking Muslim minorities are believed to be held in internment camps in China's Xinjiang province under the pretext of re-education and stamping out extremism.

Rights groups believe than many Uighurs have been forcibly assigned to factory work in the province, including on cotton farms.

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