The Act Party today plans to ask Parliament to debate a motion to declare China’s oppression of the Uyghur ethnic minority an act of “genocide”.
Its motion would ask MPs to vote on whether human rights abuses in the Chinese region of Xinjiang amount to genocide, a move that could compel the government to take stronger action in condemning the nation, Stuff reports.
Similar motions have passed in the UK and Canada.
The 1948 United Nations genocide convention defines genocide as acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”, which can take place in times of war or peace.
Act Party deputy foreign affairs spokeswoman Brooke van Velden said the party would file the motion with the Parliament’s Office of the clerk and the Speaker on Wednesday.
“There are two reasons the act party are bringing this debatable motion to parliament,” she told the Herald.
“We have a responsibility to stand up for the dignity and human rights of all people, and there have been incresaing reports of atrocities leading to genocide in the Xinjiang region.”
“Secondly this motion is brought about as an act of solidarity with our democratic trading partners, who have done the same thing in Britain and in Canada.”
The motion put forward on Wednesday would be similar to one recently passed in Britain -recognising “crimes against humanity” committed in Xinjiang, and calling on the government to uphold its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
“If the Labour Party will not put forward its own motion then the Act party will,” ven Velden said.
“New Zealand cannot sit by as a dmeocratic nation if crime against humanity are occuring within one of our largest trading partners.
“It is a matter of human rights and we have a responsibility as parliamentarians to stand up for people who don’t a voice.”
The success of the motion would depend on the support of the Labour party, who hold the majority in the house.
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