Uyghur Tribunal: London

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:43 pm on 14th June 2021.

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Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 3:43 pm, 14th June 2021

I thank my right hon. Friend yet again for his work in this area and for bringing this important issue to the House’s attention. As I said in my opening remarks, we welcome any rigorous and balanced initiative that raises awareness of the situation faced by Uyghurs and other minorities in China. We will follow the tribunal closely and study any resulting report carefully.

Of course, my right hon. Friend knows that it is the policy of successive UK Governments that any determination of genocide or crimes against humanity is a matter for a competent court. We are therefore not in a position to provide evidence, testimony or other official support to the tribunal.

My right hon. Friend is right to mention the press conference held by Chinese authorities. We are disturbed by reports of attempts to intimidate those appearing at the hearing. We have previously made it clear that any attempt by China to silence its critics is unwarranted and completely unacceptable. As I have said, we have engaged with Sir Geoffrey Nice. We have pointed him to some open-source information to be of assistance, which is some of the most compelling evidence on what is going on in Xinjiang.

With regard to the Select Committee report that my right hon. Friend referenced, we announced on 12 January that we will work with the Cabinet Office to provide guidance and support to UK public bodies to exclude suppliers where there is evidence of human rights abuses in any of their supply chains. That work is continuing. As he will appreciate, that is a BEIS-led approach.

All our policy towards China is agreed by the National Security Council, and detailed implementation is co-ordinated by the National Strategy Implementation Group for China. These are senior officials across Whitehall. These governance structures are kept under review to ensure that effective co-ordination at all levels is always upheld.