Uyghur genocide motion tabled in the Italian Foreign Affairs Committee

Following the sanctions imposed on ten European individuals and four European entities, including a Parliamentary Institution, a number of Italian MPs announced their unwavering support to their colleagues and vowed not to give in to the silencing efforts from the Chinese Communist Party regarding its mass violations of human rights in the People’s Republic of China, and in particular in Xinjiang.

Among them Paolo Formentini MP, Vice-President of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Italian Chamber of Deputies and member of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), who has long stood with the oppressed people’s in China and has repeatedly acted in defence of human rights and the rule of law under international commitments in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong.

Following initiatives by Parliamentary colleagues in Belgium, The Netherlands, Canada and Lithuania, and as Chinese Ambassador to Italy Li Junhua has been convened later today to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in relation to the imposition of sanctions on European individuals and entities, this morning Formentini announced his tabling of a “Genocide Motion” aimed at recognizing the atrocities committed against the Uyghurs and other Muslim populations in Xinjiang as genocide under the terms of the 1948 UN Convention, and requesting the Italian Government to adapt its policies towards China in line with allied countries and in particular with the decisions made in this regard by relevant bodies in the United States, Canada and The Netherlands. If accepted, the resolution is to be voted upon next week in the Foreign Affairs Committee. The proposed resolution, referring explicitly also to the Uyghurs’ denomination of Xinjiang as “East Turkestan”, moreover requests the Italian Government to align itself with allies in evaluating the possibility of moving the 2022 Winter Olympics away from Beijing.

Statement by Paolo Formentini MP (Lega): “From Hong Kong to Tibet to Xinjiang, we will stand against oppression and crimes against humanity! The Uyghur people living under a Big Brother regime that controls them 24/7, puts them in mass detention centers and even forcefully sterilizes them as researcher Adrian Zenz has demonstrated must become a symbol of the struggle for freedom for all in the fight against a true genocide.”

Laura Harth, from the Global Committee for the Rule of Law “Marco Pannella” led by Former Italian FM Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata and regional liaison for IPAC: “We have come a long way since Dolkun Isa, President of the World Uyghur Congress, was detained and barred from entering the Italian Senate in July 2017 to denounce the mass internment campaign in Xinjiang.

Since the signing of the infamous Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative in March 2019 between Italy and China, the number of Italian MPs standing up for human rights and an international order based on the rule of law and universal principles of democracy, freedom of opinion, speech and religion has rapidly grown.

The continuous attempts to intimidate and silence them, as after Joshua Wong’s hearing at the Senate in November 2019, and coordination under IPAC has significantly increased attention for the rampant repression of these values by a regime that abhors all values inherent to human life, and indeed all too often human life itself.

This unwavering step by Paolo Formentini MP is another decisive step in the direction of a realignment of Italy with international allies and a clear invite to the Italian Government to stand up for the principles enshrined in its Constitution.

In this regard, it should urgently reconsider its stance on the BRI and its secret MOU’s, which have not borne any fruits but a political victory for Beijing, as well as the upcoming ‘Italy-China Year of Culture and Tourism 2022’. Promotion and propaganda of a genocidal State actor holds no place in the longstanding culture of the Italian people or in that of the Chinese people at large.”

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