Canada’s parliament voted to approve a motion that aims to bring 10,000 Uyghur refugees and other Turkic Muslims into the country over two years, from 2024 to 2026.
The vote passed 322 to 0 on Wednesday, with members of parliament cheering and clapping for several minutes after the motion was passed.
The motion, known as M-62, was proposed last year by Liberal Member of Parliament Sameer Zuberi, and follows a unanimous motion passed in February 2021 to recognize that the Chinese government is carrying out a genocide against Uyghur Muslims.
Zuberi’s motion, which received cross-party support in the House of Commons, wants the government to recognize that there are limited number of safe countries for Uyghurs, who often face pressure and persecution by China to return. Countries which accept Uyghur migrants similarly face pressure to detain or deport them.
Motions adopted by the House of Commons are legally non-binding, so while the passing of M-62 doesn’t guarantee that Uyghurs will gain expedited entry in Canada, it does mean that the government will investigate how to adopt the motion into new policies.
Zuberi has asked that a report be finalized within the next four months outlining how the refugees will be resettled by 2026.
- In the Globe and Mail, Mehmet Tohti of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project and Margaret McCuaig-Johnston with the University of Ottawa, write that adopting the motion would throw a lifeline to the Uyghur community. They argue that Canada has successfully brought in refugees from Vietnam and Syria who have become “stellar citizens.”