René Cassin statement on government’s blocking of ‘Genocide Amendment’
Tuesday 9 February 2021
Last month, outlining the Chinese government’s treatment of its Uyghur people, the Foreign Secretary told the House of Commons that “we have a moral duty to respond” to “barbarism we had hoped lost to another era”.
Today, our government has responded, but in the worst possible way. It has blocked the ‘Genocide Amendment’ to the Trade Bill using, in the words of one of its own MPs, “parliamentary games played over an issue as grave as genocide”.
Edmund Burke, the founder of modern conservatism, is said to have written: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
Today, the government has done worse than nothing.
It is a cowardly act that shames not only the memory of Burke, but of other Conservatives like Winston Churchill and David Maxwell-Fyfe, who led British prosecutors at Nuremberg and drafted the European Convention on Human Rights.
But evil will not triumph. The “barbarism we had hoped lost to another era” drove good men and women to vow ‘Never Again!”. That is a vow we renew today. There is a growing tide of revulsion against the brutality of the Chinese government. It will not be stemmed by sordid parliamentary trickery.
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