An unofficial United Kingdom-based tribunal ruled on Dec. 9 that China committed genocide against Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in its northwestern Xinjiang region.
In its 63-page judgment, the independent Uyghur Tribunal in London said that alleged efforts to prevent births, such as enforced abortions, the removal of wombs against women’s will, and the killing of babies immediately after birth, amounted to genocidal intent.
Senior Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, had “primary responsibility” for the alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, the Tribunal ruled.
Tribunal Chair Sir Geoffrey Nice said that although some Uyghurs had been killed in detention, there was “no evidence of organized mass killings.”
Nice also said that comparisons with the Nazi Holocaust “may be well-intentioned but are unhelpful” because Uyghur detainees were allowed to return to society.
The ruling came after the Tribunal heard from over 70 witnesses, including former detainees and experts, over two sets of hearings in June and September.
The findings have no legal force and do not have government backing. However, the Tribunal said that it hoped its ruling will compel international action into the alleged abuses.
Nice said he founded the Tribunal in 2020 because no international criminal court had investigated the allegations, as well as at the urging of global activist group World Uyghur Congress (WUC).
WUC President Dolkun Isa said in a statement that the ruling represented a “historic day for the Uyghur people.”
Isa further said the ruling was a “crucial step towards wider recognition by the international community” and an “urgent reminder” for the United Nations and nations that are parties to the 1948 Genocide Convention “to fulfill their legal and moral obligation under international law to stop this ongoing genocide as well as hold accountable those who are responsible for these crimes.”
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