Holocaust survivors launch petition to speak to Boris Johnson ahead of Genocide Amendment vote

By James Moules

TWO Holocaust survivors have written a letter and set up a petition to request a meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in advance of parliament’s vote on the Genocide Amendment to the Trade Bill.

Ruth Barnett MBE and Dorit Oliver Wolff BEM – both survivors of the Holocaust – wrote to and made a video for the Prime Minister calling for the meeting to push for the Genocide Amendment – which aims to prevent the UK from forging trade deals with countries deemed to have committed genocide.

In the letter, they say: “As survivors of the Holocaust, we know the trauma of genocide. We are deeply concerned that the UK is not doing enough whilst the genocide against the Uyghurs worsens. We are writing to you to invite you to meet with us ahead of the vote in the House of Commons on the genocide amendment.

“Any conscionable person cannot ignore that the Uyghurs in Xinjiang and other groups are facing genocide. We are watching on as one of the most egregious crimes is unfolding before our eyes.”

Boris Johnson has faced significant rebellions from his own party over previous votes on the issue, and on Tuesday February 23, 2021, the House of Lords voted 367 to 214 in favour of a version of an amendment.

The letter goes on: “Trade is not worth the price of a people. We simply cannot stand by when others remain silent. We cannot stand by whilst we carry on business as usual. Please meet with us ahead of the vote on the Genocide amendment to discuss the changes we urgently need to see.

“We hope that you will accept our invitation, to ensure that we should never be in the position of commemorating the Uyghur genocide in the future. The decision to mean “never again” is in our and, as Prime Minister, your hands.”

In response, a No 10 spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister thanks Ruth and Dorit for their letter and will be responding.

“As the Prime Minister has said, the human rights violations being carried out against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang are utterly abhorrent and we will continue to do our utmost to end these abuses. 

“Genocide is a crime and, like other crimes, whether it has occurred should be decided by competent courts and judges.

“The proposed amendment to the trade bill could embroil the courts in the formulation of trade policy and international relations, and risked undermining the separation of powers.”

Watch the video here:

Featured Image: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office @Flickr

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