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Press Release: WUC Applauds Passing of Genocide Resolution in the Lithuanian Parliament

Press Release: WUC Applauds Passing of Genocide Resolution in the Lithuanian Parliament

Press Release – For immediate release
20 May 2021
Contact: World Uyghur Congress
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or [email protected]

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) applauds the passing of a resolution in the Lithuanian Parliament that condemns China’s crimes against humanity and genocide against the Uyghur people. By overwhelmingly voting in favour of the motion (86 to 1, with 7 abstentions), Lithuanian Members of Parliament have taken a strong position that underscores that Lithuania and the European Union cannot sit in silence whilst a genocide is unfolding in East Turkistan.

“We are immensely grateful for the Lithuanian Parliament, under the initiative taken by MP Dovilė Šakalienė, to recognize the Uyghur genocide”, WUC President Dolkun Isa said. “The rest of the EU Member States as well as the EU as an institution should follow suit and adopt a strong position to condemn the ongoing genocide against the Uyghur people”.

The passing of the genocide motion in the Lithuanian Parliament comes at a time where the question of genocide has been raised within various other governments worldwide, including the European Union. In January, the United States was the very first country to formally declare China’s crimes against the Uyghurs as a genocide. In February and March, the Canadian, Dutch, and British parliaments adopted motions recognizing the Uyghur crisis as genocide. Lithuania has thereby become the second parliament in the European Union to do so. Similar resolutions are currently under discussion in other countries as well, including Belgium, Italy, and Australia.

Next to calling on the United Nations to initiate a legal inquiry into the Uyghur genocide, the resolution further urged the European Parliament and the European Commission to review the EU’s cooperation policy with China and formulate a clear position on China’s human rights violations, crimes against humanity and the Uyghur genocide. 

This position was echoed by the European Parliament today, which adopted a resolution in which refused to start the process to ratify the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) as long as Beijing does not lift the sanctions on MEPs and the human rights subcommittee. It also called upon the EU Council and Commission Presidents to “come out with a clear statement that the sanctions of China against elected politicians will not  be tolerated”, and further urged “that the Commission and the European External Action Service swiftly finalise a supply-chain business advisory with guidance for companies on the exposure to risk of using Uyghur forced labour and providing support in urgently identifying alternative sources of supply.”

The WUC will continue calling on the European Union and its member states to follow the example of the Dutch and Lithuanian parliaments and recognize the Uyghur genocide. It is essential that this is done in parallel with EU-wide actions that meaningfully address the Uyghur crisis, such as measures to ensure EU companies are not complicit in Uyghur forced labour, and a common policy that puts human rights at the center of any (trade) relations with China.