Canada on Wednesday said it will not send a federal government delegation to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing over human rights concerns, AP reported. However, the athletes will be able to compete at the international event.
With its announcement, Canada joined the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia – all of whom have announced a diplomatic boycott of the sporting event. All these countries have cited human rights abuses in Xinjiang as the reason behind their decision.
Human rights groups have said that at least one million Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking, mostly Muslim minorities have been incarcerated in camps in Xinjiang, where China is also accused of forcibly sterilising women and imposing forced labour.
“We are extremely concerned by the repeated human rights violations by the Chinese government,” Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday, AP reported. “They should not be surprised we will not be sending any diplomatic representation.”
He added that Canada had been coordinating with other countries over the boycott since the last few months, CBC reported.
In February, the Canadian government had said that the violence directed at religious minorities in China’s Xinjiang province amounted to “genocide”. Its statement had followed a government committee report findings on China’s persecution of Muslim minorities in concentration camps and forced sterilisations.
The Members of Parliament had also requested the government to pressure the International Olympic Committee to move the Winter Olympics games out of China, CBC reported.