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Dutch parliament passes motion calling China's treatment of Uyghurs 'a genocide'

Dutch parliament passes motion calling China's treatment of Uyghurs 'a genocide'
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The Dutch Parliament passed a motion Thursday calling China’s treatment of the Uyghur people genocide.

“A genocide on the Uighur minority is occurring in China,” the motion said, Reuters reported. The nonbinding motion is the first to be passed by a European country.

Although China denies the accusation, a growing number of countries are beginning to believe and officially declare that the actions taken against the Uyghurs amount to genocide. 

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Both the United States and Canada have declared it a genocide with activists saying more than a million Uyghurs have been sent to camps and tortured in Xinjiang.

“Recognising the atrocities that are taking place against the Uighurs in China for what they are, namely genocide, prevents the world from looking the other way and forces us into action,” lawmaker Sjoerd Sjoerdsma, who proposed the motion, told Reuters.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the issue was of great concern but did not want to label it a genocide since the United Nations has not done so. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte voted against the motion.

There has been hesitation by many to declare the treatment of Uyghurs a genocide with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Treadu saying that genocide was an "extremely loaded" term before their country passed the motion. 

The Dutch government's motion declares “measures intended to prevent birth” and “punishment camps” that they believe China has set up fall under the U.N.’s resolution for genocide convention. 

Sjoerdsma also wants to move the 2022 Winter Olympics out of China for their actions and proposed lobbying the International Olympic Committee.

China continues to deny that there is any poor treatment of Uyghur minorities in the country.