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Committee launches new inquiry on Xinjiang Detention Camps

16 September 2020

The Foreign Affairs Committee today launches an inquiry into the Xinjiang detention camps.

Giving evidence to a previous FAC inquiry, Jewish human rights organisation René Cassin said that “never again” is happening again” – referring to the mass incarceration of Uyghurs and other ethnic groups in Xinjiang, China.

This inquiry will examine the ways in which the Government can prevent UK companies from benefiting from forced labour in Xinjiang, support members of the Uyghur diaspora community, and strengthen the Government’s, and particularly the FCDO’s, atrocity prevention mechanisms.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said:

“The mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang has horrifying echoes of the 1930s. There have been similar atrocities since, and each time the world has promised to never allow such violations to happen again. And yet, we now have clear, undeniable evidence of the persecution of more than one million people in these so-called re-education camps.”

“This inquiry will focus on key questions about what the UK can do to exert its influence and the steps the new FCDO will take to fulfil its goal of making our country an ‘active, internationalist, problem-solving and burden-sharing nation’.

“We will also examine what mechanisms the Government can use to discourage private sector companies from contributing to human rights abuses and hope to hear from those directly affected by the atrocities, using this inquiry to support members of the Uyghur diaspora community.

“Ultimately, it is they who matter most, and I hope the work of my committee over the coming months will highlight and find ways in which the UK Government, and particularly the FCDO, can prevent similar atrocities from happening again.”

The Committee welcomes written evidence on the following points

  • How can the UK use organisations and agreements such as the UN Human Rights Council and the Genocide Convention to influence China towards better human rights practices?
  • Where these mechanisms prove ineffective, what other international laws and agreements can be used effectively for atrocity prevention?
  • How can the UK use its influence on countries other than China who are complicit in the persecution of Uyghurs?
  • What mechanisms can the Government use to discourage private sector companies from contributing to human rights abuses?
  • How can UK-linked businesses with operations in Xinjiang be made accountable for any involvement in human rights abuses?
  • What is the best form of support to offer to members of the Uyghur diaspora (and others) who are experiencing persecution and harassment abroad?
  • How can the UK support the promotion of knowledge and transparency about this issue, both within China and internationally?
  • How effective is the FCDO’s current approach to atrocity prevention, and how can it be restructured to maximise the UK’s impact in this area?

Your submission should:

  • be concise - if over 3,000 words, include a short summary as well
  • include an introduction to you or your organisation and your reason for submitting evidence
  • not already be published

Submissions should be in malleable format such as MS Word (not PDFs) with no use of colour or logos. Guidance on submitting written evidence and data protection information is available here: Guidance on submitting written evidence.

Deadline for submissions

Written evidence should be submitted through the Committee’s web portal by midnight on 30 October. It is recommended that all submitters familiarise themselves with the Guidance on giving evidence to a Select Committee of the House of Commons which outlines particulars of word count, format, document size, and content restrictions.


We encourage members of underrepresented groups to submit written evidence. We aim to have diverse panels of Select Committee witnesses and ask organisations to bear this in mind when we ask them to choose a representative. We are currently monitoring the diversity of our witnesses.

Further information