On 13 December, I wrote to the Foreign Minister about the Uyghur Tribunal Verdict.  Read my full letter below:


The Rt Hon Amanda Milling MP
Minister of State
Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

13 December 2021

Dear Amanda,

Re: Uyghur Tribunal Verdict 

As you know, last week the independent Uyghur Tribunal, led by Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, concluded that China has committed genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, with the Chinese Government pursuing a “deliberate, systematic and concerted policy” to bring about “long-term reduction of Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations”. 

The Tribunal follows the authoritative February 2021 advisory opinion of Alison McDonald QC which concluded there was a “very credible case” that genocide was taking place, and the cross-party vote in Parliament in April 2021, in which the House recognised the genocide against the Uyghur people and called for government to take urgent steps in response.

While I recognise that the tribunal has no formal legal standing, its findings are thorough and stark and bring to light the urgent need for action.

Through amendments to the Trade Bill, we, along with Members from across the House, had sought to create a route to genocide determination through the UK’s courts, or through a panel of senior law lords, but those cross-party efforts were shamefully defeated by the Government. With the international route to legal determination of genocide blocked by the China and the domestic route to legal determination blocked by the Government, the significance of processes like the Uyghur Tribunal is all the greater.

My Labour colleagues and I have consistently called for the Government to not only condemn these actions but to take firm actions in response. The growing recognition of genocide in Xinjiang must have consequences.

As such, and in light of the Tribunal’s findings, I would welcome your clarification as to:

  • What assessment your Department, and the wider British Government, has made of the Tribunal’s findings
  • Whether the Tribunal’s findings, and the vote in Parliament, will lead to the consideration of further Magnitsky sanctions against more senior figures in the Chinese government who are responsible;
  • What additional international cooperation is being considered to hold the Chinese Government to account
  • Whether the Government will bring forward powers to ban specific exports related to forced labour;
  • Whether the government will commit to strengthening the Modern Slavery Act, including the introduction of a system of mandatory due diligence.

The horrific situation in Xinjiang requires clear action in response from the British Government and our international partners. A failure to do so would be an intolerable stain on our international and moral responsibilities.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Catherine West
Member of Parliament for Hornsey & Wood Green
Shadow Minister for Asia & the Pacific 

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