New Zealand expresses concern about treatment of China’s Uighurs

Sydney, Australia, May 5 (EFE).- New Zealand’s parliament voted unanimously this Wednesday in favor of a motion that expresses “grave concern” about the “severe human rights abuses” of Uighurs, a minority Muslim from the Chinese region of Xinjiang, although it stopped short of labeling it a genocide.

The motion presented by the minority ACT (liberal) party was modified shortly before the vote as it did not get the support of the other political formations in parliament, where Jacinda Ardern’s Labor Party has a majority. The original text had labelled China’s treatment of Uighurs a genocide.

ACT’s Deputy Leader Brooke van Velden, said Labor is seeking to soften the language so that the word “genocide” is eliminated and added that the United States had used it both during the presidency of Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

Concerns around human rights violations and abuses of Uighurs center on the systematic use of indoctrination camps, forced labor and intrusive surveillance to eliminate the ethnic identity and religious beliefs of Uighurs and other minorities in Xinjiang, as well as birth control and forced sterilization programs.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta said that while the Ardern government has not described the treatment of the Uighurs as genocide, it has directly addressed their concerns about the situation in Xinjiang with the Chinese government.

“Genocide is the most serious of international crimes and a formal legal determination should only be reached after a rigorous assessment based on international law. International tribunals have required totally conclusive evidence before reaching a genocide conclusion,” Mahuta said.

The motion comes two days after Ardern said it was hard to reconcile the differences in her country’s systems and China, as well as their respective values ??and interests.

In defending the independence of its foreign policy, Ardern said New Zealand has expressed itself, either individually or as a bloc or privately or publicly, on thorny issues such as respect for human rights in China, its main commercial partner.

Last month, Mahuta said her country will assume a more independent position with respect to China, thereby distancing itself from the strategic alliance of the “Five Eyes” to which it belongs and that the United States and Australia, among other countries, make up. EFE


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