Uyghur Canadian leaders urge Trudeau to acknowledge ‘genocide’ in Xinjiang

Meeting comes after parliament’s unanimous support of expedited entry for 10,000 Uyghur refugees.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to Laurier Club members in Montreal, Nov. 7, 2022.

Uyghur community leaders in Canada asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau why his administration has not followed Canada’s parliament in recognizing the situation in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region as genocide.

Trudeau met with about 10 community leaders on Monday in Montreal to discuss a wide range of topics related to Xinjiang, including the possibility of banning imports of products produced by forced labor.

“He said he was aware of it and looking into it. He said Canada was considering banning forced labor products coming into Canada,” Keyum Masimov, project leader of the Ottawa-based Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, or URAP, told Radio Free Asia’s Uyghur Service on Tuesday.

The meeting’s organizer was lawmaker Sameer Zuberi, who in June introduced a motion in parliament to help Uyghurs fleeing “ongoing genocide” in China by expediting entry for “10,000 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in need of protection” starting in 2024.

Parliament voted 258-0 in support of the measure last month, echoing the February 2021 motion to recognize the situation in Xinjiang as genocide, which passed 266-0.

“We were able to convey our concerns to him that we were puzzled by his administration’s reluctance to recognize the Uyghur genocide as every Uyghur Canadian has at least one family member, neighbor, or friend locked up in the concentration camps,” Masimov said.