DHARAMSALA, 26 Feb: The Netherlands has become the first European country to declare China’s treatment of Uighurs as genocide as it joined the global chorus of calling out and condemning Beijing’s atrocities against the Uighurs in East Turkistan.
The Dutch Parliament passed a non-binding motion that declared the treatment of the Uighur Muslim minority in China a “genocide” on Thursday, reports the Reuters.
“A genocide on the Uighur minority is occurring in China,” the Dutch motion said, stopping short of directly saying that the Chinese government was responsible.
Meanwhile, China as expected has dismissed the charges of genocide against the Uighur Muslim minority.
The Chinese Embassy in the Hague has dismissed the charges as an “outright lie” and that the Dutch parliament had “deliberately smeared China and grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs.”
“How can you call this a genocide? Xingjiang-related issues are never about human rights, ethnicity or religion, but about combating violent terrorism and succession,” read a statement issued by the Chinese embassy.
Additionally, China’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva has accused Western powers on Wednesday of using the Uighur issue to meddle in his country’s internal affairs.
The motion tabled by lawmaker Sjoerd Sjoerdsma of the centre-left D-66 Party stated that Beijing’s acts such as “measures intended to prevent births” and “having punishment camps” fits the United Nations Resolution 260, generally known as the genocide convention.
Additionally, the Dutch lawmaker has separately proposed lobbying the International Olympic Committee to move the 2022 Winter Olympics away from Beijing.
“Recognising the atrocities that are taking place against the Uighurs in China for what they are, namely genocide, prevents the world from looking the other way and forces us into action,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
However, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy(VVD) has reportedly voted against the resolution.
The Dutch Foreign Minister, Stef Blok has however shied away from using the term “genocide,” as he argued that the United Nations or an international court is yet to declare it genocide.
Blok has admitted that “the situation of the Uighurs is a cause of great concern” after the motion was passed and added that the “Netherlands hoped to work with other nations on the matter.”
Following in the footsteps of Canada’s parliament, the Dutch became the second nation to pass the motion in its parliament this week.
Lawmakers in France and the UK have also been trying to take a stance against the treatment of Uighur people in China, Politico reported and added that the passage of the motion in the Dutch parliament, the capital of international law “can carry legal ramifications in international bodies, in addition to drawing attention to a situation.”
The US under former President Donald Trump also declared that China is committing genocide the most heinous of crimes against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
“I have determined that the People’s Republic of China is committing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, China, targeting Uyghur Muslims and members of other ethnic and religious minority groups,” former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during the last day of his office.