In a parliamentary vote on Wednesday, Canadian legislators voted overwhelmingly in support of accepting 10,000 Uyghur asylum seekers, starting next year. The step has reignited calls for Muslim-majority countries to take tougher action against China, for its occupation of East Turkestan and its decades-long oppression of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims. 
The private member’s motion – officially referred to as M-62 Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims – was filed by the backbench Member of Parliament (MP) Sameer Zuberi on 20 June 2022. 
BREAKING ➡️➡️➡️— Uyghur Human Rights Project (@UyghurProject) February 1, 2023
🇨🇦 Canadian Parliament unanimously passes motion calling on 🏛️ govt to "urgently leverage" refugee resettlement program to expedite entry of 10,000 Uyghurs & other Turkic Muslims in need of protection to Canada.
Congrats to @SameerZuberi! pic.twitter.com/N7Fh2zcFtW
Wednesday’s vote builds on the hugely symbolic prior progress in Canada’s legislature in 2021, when a successful motion called China’s actions in East Turkestan (referred to as Xinjiang by Chinese authorities) a genocide. 
Notably, during the 2021 motion that called out China’s genocide, many government ministers avoided the vote. This time around, however, the cabinet lent its backing. 
Speaking to reporters following the ballot, Zuberi, the member for Pierrefonds—Dollard, said,
“It is a clear signal that we do not accept human rights violations against the Uyghur people. What is happening to the Uyghurs is unacceptable.” 
Statements of recognition
Alongside the unanimous support for the entry of thousands of Uyghurs into Canada, the successful motion has also called on the Liberal government to carry out two steps of acknowledgement.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his administration are urged to:
“…recognize that Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims that have fled to third countries face pressure and intimidation by the Chinese state to return to China, where they face the serious risk of mass arbitrary detention, mass arbitrary separation of children from their parents, forced sterilization, forced labour, torture and other atrocities;” 
“…recognize that many of these third countries face continued diplomatic and economic pressure from the People’s Republic of China to detain and deport Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims leaving them without a safe haven in the world;” 
Will Muslim-majority states make a stand?
To date, many Muslim-majority countries have yet to make a bold move against China.
In large part, this has been an unfortunate result of economic relationships and longer-term strategic partnerships that seek to dampen the influence of US hegemony.
There is also a lack of global inter-Muslim state collaboration and ultimately this has caused divergent routes to be taken by various countries around the world.
Helping #Uyghurs is the right thing to do. Our proud history of offering resettlement to refugees compels us to help vulnerable people fleeing persecution.— Sameer Zuberi 🇨🇦 (@SameerZuberi) February 3, 2023
Watch my full interview with @PnPCBC: https://t.co/Fa1SQ1JTqW pic.twitter.com/8hOrAxM2rH
An example of a Muslim-majority country that finds itself increasingly beholden to Chinese investment and influence is Pakistan.
Following an early November 2022 state visit by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, a joint statement noted that,
“Both sides reiterated their mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests.
“The Pakistani side expressed its commitment to the one-China Policy and support on issues of Taiwan, South China Sea, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
“The Chinese side reaffirmed its support for Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, security, and promoting its socio-economic development and prosperity.” 
In another example, Türkiye remains openly supportive of the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims in East Turkestan. Indeed, the country is home to around 50,000 exiled Uyghurs.
But it, too, has to tread a fine line in order to keep China on hand when it comes to matters involving Kurdish terror threats, the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the potential accession of Finland and Sweden into NATO, and other such areas.
And despite open government opposition to handing Uyghurs over to the Chinese, there have been rumours that the country has extradited some people via third countries such as Tajikistan.
This, critics suggest, has made it easier for the Chinese regime to forcibly return Uyghurs, due to friendly diplomatic relations with Tajikistan. 
Islam21c Campaigns Co-ordinator and Stand4Uyghurs lead, Maira Khan, said of the bill’s passing:
“It is encouraging to see a helping hand being lent to Uyghurs who are suffering severe persecution at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.
“For years, China deliberately isolated Uyghurs from the international community, and it is time we start making practical steps towards responding to the human rights violations Uyghurs and other Muslims are facing in occupied East Turkestan.
“While we are pleased to see Western countries continue to support the Uyghur cause, we want to also encourage Muslim nations to take a principled stance, and stand in solidarity with their brothers and sisters. #Stand4Uyghurs”
What can we do?
We must continue to stand for our Uyghur brothers and sisters, by sharing news stories pertaining to them, writing to news outlets and pushing for coverage, attending rallies organised by the Stand4Uyghurs coalition, and lobbying our respective governments to do more to keep the pressure on the genocidal Chinese regime.
While many Muslim-led governments may be unable to publicly criticise China due to its influence, as individuals and communities we must ensure that the critical Stand4Uyghurs work and other such campaigns maintain their relevance.
If you’d like to support Stand4Uyghurs in an individual capacity, or as an organisation, please fill in the form below, and we will do our best to get back to you!
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