12 January 2021
Sir Iain Duncan Smith argues that Magnitsky sanctions should be included in the Government’s response to the situation in Xinjiang

Following the measures introduced by the Government in response to the human rights violations being perpetrated in Xinjiang against the Uyghur Muslims, Sir Iain Duncan Smith argues that Magnitsky sanctions should have been included on the list.

Sir Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green) (Con)

I welcome my right hon. Friend’s statement. The effects of the things he has announced today have been called for by the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China and by the Centre for Social Justice in respect of modern-day slavery, so I welcome them. It is vital to crack down on businesses and their supply chains. However, in this week of the holocaust memorial, surely Magnitsky sanctions should have been on the list. I happen to believe that my right hon. Friend wants that to be the case, so I wonder who in Government is blocking it. Perhaps he can whisper it to me in the Chamber; I promise him that I will not tell anybody else outside. The reality is that we need those sanctions now, because the evidence is clear.

Genocide really is a vital issue for us, and my right hon. Friend now needs to sit down with myself and others to discuss bringing forward a better amendment to make sure that we can start the process. In this week of the holocaust memorial, we need to act; after all, when they last did not act, just look what happened.

Dominic Raab (Foreign Secretary)

I thank my right hon. Friend and pay tribute to the work that the IPA and the CSJ have done and to his leadership on this subject. I also thank him for again full-throatedly welcoming the measures we have taken. They are quite technical and forensic but, as I said, they target those who either profit from or help to finance the gruesome trade in the internment camps.

My right hon. Friend will have heard me make the point already that on Magnitsky sanctions we keep it under review—it is evidence-led and we work with our allies. He will know that in relation to Xinjiang so far only the US has brought in Magnitsky sanctions, but that is something we have certainly not ruled out. The measures we have taken today are actually more targeted and forensic in addressing the finance going into or profiting from and coming out of the labour camps.

I am happy to talk to my right hon. Friend about the issue of genocide. He will know that my father fled the holocaust; I could not take it more seriously. I hope he will also have listened to what I said to the hon. Member for Wigan (Lisa Nandy); he will be all too aware of the risks of subcontracting issues to the courts, which are rightly the responsibility and the prerogative of this House, and also the fact that, frankly, we should be taking action well below the level of a genocide in terms of the Executive decisions that we make.