Be the Light in the Darkness 27 January 2021 The Rights Practice has watched with mounting horror the unfolding human rights crisis in the Uyghur region in China’s northwest. We are appalled by reports of the arbitrary detention and forced labour of countless Uyghurs as well as incidences of gender-based violence. Not only have the Chinese authorities failed to end the abuse, but they have sought to justify their actions in terms of poverty alleviation and the emancipation of women. There are no prospects for domestic remedies when the government locks up its lawyers or takes away their licenses to practice. There is overwhelming evidence that multiple human rights-related risk factors for genocide are present in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Genocidal acts against Uyghurs including causing serious bodily or mental harm, coerced sterilisation and the forcible transfer of children shame the Chinese government. There are moral and legal obligations on the international community to act. State Parties to the Genocide Convention are required to take measures to prevent and punish genocide. China’s influence at the United Nations has undermined the prospects for a judicial determination of genocide by an international court. However, there is no requirement under the Convention for such a determination before a State can take preventive measures. The Rights Practice welcomes the policies announced by the UK Government to help ensure that British companies are not complicit in human rights violations against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims. This essential step will strengthen the UK’s commitment to combat modern slavery, including in the Uyghur region. It does not, however, go far enough in expressing disapproval and helping to prevent the full range of continuing and future violations in Xinjiang. No single action by the UK or any other government will be sufficient to change China’s behaviour. But crimes against humanity must carry consequences and a robust response will make China reflect on growing international opprobrium. A revised genocide amendment to the UK Trade Bill is expected to come before parliament. The Rights Practice hopes MPs’ concerns have been addressed and they will be able to support the new amendment. Today we mark Holocaust Memorial Day. To be the light in the darkness we must redouble our efforts to prevent genocide.