World Uyghur Congress (WUC) applauds passage of M-62 Motion in Canadian Parliament to Welcome 10,000 Uyghur RefugeesWritten by World Uyghur Congress
The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) applauds the unanimous passage of the M-62 in the Canadian parliament today.
The motion, which is the first of its kind worldwide, calls on the Canadian government to leverage Canada’s Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program to expedite the entry of 10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in need of protection.
“This motion sets a very important example of how States can respond to the Uyghur genocide and concretely support Uyghurs refugees at risk in third countries,” said WUC President, Dolkun Isa. “I urge the Canadian government to accept the motion’s recommendations (key provisions), and to quickly implement a resettlement program for 10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.”
Ahead of the debate and vote, a WUC delegation, led by its President, Dolkun Isa, visited Ottawa. On January 30th, the delegation met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Immigration Sean Fraser, Minister of Global Affairs Melanie Joly, Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra and Minister of Housing and Social Development Ahmed Hussen, as well as Members of Parliament Sameer Zuberi, Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, Denis Trudel, Yves Perron, Rechal Bendayan, Anita Vandenbel, Marie France Loland, Senator Melville Duchenne, Senator Leo Housakos, and Marie-Hélène Gaudreau.
The motion was first introduced on June 20, 2022, by MP Zuberi. This was preceded by the Canadian Parliament’s recognition of the Uyghur genocide in February 2021, where the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development made an explicit recommendation that the government should “use existing refugee programs and create an exceptional stream to expedite” the entry of Uyghur and other Turkic refugees into Canada.
These recommendations and the M-62 motion are a response to the Chinese government’s increase in transnational repression against Uyghurs in recent years, which includes attempts to forcibly return Uyghurs back to China, where they are at serious risk of persecution. According to research by the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and Oxus Society for Central Asian Affairs, there have been 1546 cases of detention and deportation of Uyghurs across 28 countries between 1997 and 2021, with a dramatic escalation since 2017.
This has led to an increasingly dire situation for Uyghurs in third countries who are not firmly settled or whose passports have expired. Many of these Uyghurs are also facing harassment and intimidation by local authorities – often at the request of the Chinese government – putting them at exceptional risk of detention and refoulement.
The gravity of the situation for Uyghur and other Turkic refugees has also been highlighted by the August 2022 report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which called upon States to “refrain from returning members of Uyghur and other predominantly Muslim minorities to China who are at risk of refoulement.”
The WUC reiterates its sincere gratitude to MP Zuberi, the bipartisan Uyghur Friendship Group in the Canadian Parliament, and to its affiliate organization, the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project (URAP), for their efforts leading to the passage of the M-62 motion. The WUC now urges the Canadian government to act on the Motion (accept the motion’s request), for the (and implement a proactive) resettlement program to expedite the entry of 10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.