China responds to Canada, calls for UN investigation into crimes against indigenous peoples
On the same day, Canada helped launch an international effort at the United Nations to demand that China allow free access to Xinjiang to investigate reported human rights violations, China and its allies called on the UN to investigate crimes against Indigenous peoples in Canada.
“We are deeply concerned about the serious human rights violations against Indigenous peoples in Canada. Historically, Canada has stolen land from indigenous peoples, killed them and eradicated their culture, ”said Jiang Duan, a senior official with China’s mission to the UN. in Geneva.
“We call for a thorough and impartial investigation into all cases where crimes have been committed against indigenous peoples, especially children,” Jiang said, citing the preliminary discovery last month of what are believed to be the Unmarked burial sites of the remains of children adjacent to former Kamloops Residential School.
Jiang made the statement on behalf of a group of countries including Russia, Belarus, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded on Tuesday to China’s actions at the UN by drawing comparisons between how the two countries have handled historical and current injustices.
“The road to reconciliation is long, but it is a road we are taking. China does not even recognize that there is a problem. It is a pretty fundamental difference,” Trudeau told reporters.
WATCH / Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to China
“In Canada, we had a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Where is China’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission? Where is their truth? Where is the openness that Canada has always shown and the responsibility that Canada has assumed for the terrible mistakes of the past, and indeed, many of which continue in the present? “
Trudeau said it was important for Canadians and the world to pay attention to “systemic abuses and human rights violations against Uyghurs.”
Trudeau also highlighted the joint statement made by Canada at the UN this morning.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations in Geneva, Leslie E. Norton, made a statement on behalf of 44 countries immediately following China’s statement calling on the Chinese government to allow independent observers, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and unhindered access “to Xinijang.
“We are gravely concerned about the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” Norton said.
“Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uyghurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and culture Uyghur. “
WATCH / China calls for UN investigation into crimes against indigenous peoples in Canada
Norton cited reports of “torture or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, forced sterilization, sexual and gender-based violence and the enforced separation of children from their parents by authorities.”
Norton made the statement on behalf of a group of countries including Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
China’s statement to the UN appears to be an attempt to anticipate a renewed call by Canada and its allies for the UN to be granted free and unhindered access to Xinjiang to investigate reported abuses against the Uyghur population. .
China has detained around one to two million Uyghurs in China in what the government calls “re-education centers.”
An independent legal analysis released earlier this year by the Montreal-based Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights and a Washington-based think tank concluded that China is committing an ongoing genocide against its minority population. Muslim in Xinjiang.
A number of Canadian human rights experts contributed to the report, including former cabinet ministers Lloyd Axworthy, Allan Rock and Irwin Cotler, as well as former United Nations Ambassador Yves Fortier.
Canada recognizes injustices against Indigenous peoples
This is not the first time that China has called on Canada for its treatment of indigenous peoples. Generally, China puts pressure on Canada whenever Canada raises concerns about human rights violations taking place in China.
In October, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN Bob Rae responded to comments from representatives of Syria and China in language similar to Trudeau’s remarks this morning.
“They said,” Well, look, you have some serious issues with aboriginal people in Canada. There have been great injustices against indigenous peoples, so you are not allowed to talk about Xinjiang, Tibet, Hong Kong or the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of dead in Syria, or the tragedy of millions. refugees in Syria. And I disagree with respect, ”Rae said.
Rae took note of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s 2017 speech to the UN, in which he admitted that Canada had betrayed its Indigenous peoples and reaffirmed his government’s commitment to reconciliation.
“We have established liability commissions. We have established truth and reconciliation commissions. Where are the truth and reconciliation commissions in China? Where are the truth and reconciliation commissions in Syria? Rae said.
WATCH / Canada calls on China to allow UN investigators free access to Xinjiang