An issue which is often raised with me by Crawley residents is Britain’s place in the world and our role in upholding human rights.
It is difficult to think of a subject where this is more necessary than the treatment of the Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang in China.
These minorities are being incarcerated ‘en masse’ by the Chinese communist dictatorship. One look at the images to come out of Xinjiang will draw immediate parallels to the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany.
Earlier in the year the Foreign Secretary fulfilled a Conservative manifesto commitment to introduce a Magnitsky-style sanctions regime to tackle human rights abusers.
I am a member of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, which scrutinises the work of the Foreign Secretary and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO); we are supporting efforts in Parliament to ensure those responsible for the Chinese Communist Party’s actions in Xinjiang are included in the next designation of sanctions.
This week we launched an inquiry on the detention camps in Xinjiang. With evidence of the persecution of over a million people in these so-called re-education camps, our Committee will look into how the UK can use its position in the world when seeking to influence China.
Other areas which the inquiry will focus on include how groups being persecuted can receive support, mechanisms which the UK Government can use to discourage private sector companies from contributing to human rights abuses, and how the FCDO can ensure a strong role for Britain in preventing atrocities.
For more information and to take part in the Committee’s call for evidence, please visit: www.parliament.uk/facom.
Henry Smith MP