Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, has been leading the Genocide Amendment to the Trade Bill to ensure that the Government does not trade with genocidal states.
In December, the House of Lords added an amendment to the Trade Bill, which introduces measures against genocidal states. The Bill returned to the House of Commons last night and the House of Commons got the opportunity to vote on this amendment.
Nus led a political coalition to protect the amendment, comprising of every opposition party, major community organisations of most British faith communities, and the former leader of the Conservatives, Iain Duncan Smith. Although the motion was narrowly defeated last night by 319 to 308, the scale of the rebellion showed that the Government could not ignore calls to deal with the issue of genocide trade.
Nus continues to lead the campaign and has tabled a compromise amendment. Because the defeat was so narrow, the House of Lords will be emboldened to adopt an improved amendment - the Ghani Genocide Amendment, which will return to the House of Commons next month.
The UK can only accept a definition of genocide if it has been determined in the International Criminal Court upon request from the UN Security Council, which can be vetoed by China and Russia. The amendment to the Trade Bill would allow British courts to take evidence and make a preliminary declaration that genocide is taking place. The Parliament can then consider this, and Ministers can consider which action to take. The Government could, if it wished, choose to ignore it and the courts would not be able to strike down deals or laws.
Nus Ghani said: “I am proud to be leading the Genocide Amendment in the House of Commons. Even though we were defeated last night, the defeat was very narrow, and an improved amendment - the Ghani Genocide Amendment, can now be adopted by the House of Lords. With the UN unable to investigate genocide due to the vetoes of countries such as Russia and China, the UK is obliged under the UN Convention to use its own courts to investigate genocide and ensure that we do not trade with genocidal states. As we start developing our trade deals, we need to make sure that we are not complicit in trading with genocidal states. It’s time to use our new independent trade policy as a tool with which to do good and to demonstrate the values Global Britain wants to live up to.”