Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - Your help needed as ‘genocide amendment’ is put before MPs - Open Doors UK & Ireland
02 February 2021

Your help needed as ‘genocide amendment’ is put before MPs

Your help is needed for a vital vote next week. On 19 January, a vote in the House of Commons on the ‘Genocide Amendment to the UK Trade Bill’ was narrowly defeated. However, a second vote is likely to take place next Tuesday (9 February). In this article we explain why we are asking you to pray and ask your MP to back the amendment. Scroll to the bottom for a template letter to send to your MP.

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The 'Genocide Amendment to the UK Trade Bill' has a strong focus on China; image used for illustrative purposes

Following a narrow defeat in the House of Commons on 19 January, the Lords Amendment to the Trade Bill – also known as the ‘genocide amendment’ – has been revised and is expected to be voted on again next Tuesday (9 February). 

What exactly is the amendment and why is it important? 

If voted through, the amendment would enable UK courts to determine whether genocide is being committed based on religion, race, ethnicity or nationality – and whether states are complicit in it. Parliament would then be required to set out a course of action regarding bilateral trade agreements, which might involve withdrawal or termination.

World Watch List 2021
The list highlights the most dangerous countries in the world to be a Christian. Read and explore the full Top 50 list.
Find out more

As we see the persecution of Christians rise dramatically, this is a vital opportunity to ensure that the UK does all it can to support our persecuted family when faced with genocide. 

The amendment has a strong focus on the plight of Uyghurs in China. We know that the human right to freedom of religion has been abused in China, as demonstrated by China rocketing up the World Watch List by 26 places in just three years.

One of our key policy recommendations in the World Watch List 2021 report called for UK trade negotiations to champion religious freedom. This amendment is part of the current Trade Bill being discussed, and would move the UK closer to realising and acting upon that recommendation.

What can I do to help? 

There are two things you can do:

  • Please could you write to your MP, asking them to back the amendment? Below you will find a draft letter you can use. You can find your MP here.
  • Please could you pray that this amendment passes? In its last vote, it was only very narrowly defeated. See the bottom of this page for specific prayer points.

The online World Watch List parliamentary launch was attended by at least 98 MPs. Since then, we have seen the report referenced by MPs on social media and in the House of Commons. 

“When we as members of parliament hear from you, such as receiving the letters and cards that I received from my constituents about today’s [World Watch List] event, MPs really do take notice,” Fiona Bruce MP said in her new role as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. “You have helped ensure that increased awareness on the part of so many MPs of freedom of religion as a concern.”

"MPs really do take notice" Fiona Bruce MP

Your advocacy and prayers make a tremendous difference. Thank you! 

Draft letter to send your MP

Dear x MP,

I would like to draw your attention to the Lords Genocide Amendment to the Trade Bill. After a narrow defeat in the House of Commons on 19 January, the amendment has been revised and will likely return next week.

I urge you as my MP to please support this amendment when it comes before the House of Commons.

The amendment will enable a legal judgment to be made as to whether a state is complicit with genocide, with Parliament then responsible to decide upon action regarding bilateral trade agreements. In relation to states such as China where Uyghur people are experiencing grave harm, if this amendment is passed, it would allow for the possibility of a genocide ruling and, we hope, would prompt greater action of UK obligations under the Genocide Convention.

Earlier this year, you were made aware of the Open Doors 2021 World Watch List report which presents research and analysis on the 50 worst countries to be a Christian, 340 million of whom face high to extreme levels of persecution globally. If you have not read it, you can do so here.

As persecution of religious minorities increases year upon year, it is vital that the UK does all it can to support those facing the crime of genocide. Along with amendment discussions so far, the Open Doors report profiles China as a country of concern, jumping a massive 26 places up the World Watch List in the last three years.

Considering the report and its recommendations, this Trade Bill represents an opportunity for the UK to stand up for religious minorities and to hold countries to account where they are complicit in genocide. The World Watch List report shows that when the right to freedom of religion is being abused, many other human rights abuses are taking place. Therefore, it is crucial that the UK Government both recognises and champions religious freedom in trade negotiations. Supporting this bill amendment is an important step towards achieving that. 

Yours sincerely,

Your full name,
Phone number

Please pray
  • Give thanks that the ‘genocide amendment’ has been drawn up and has generated publicity and discussion
  • That MPs will see and recognise the importance and urgency of the amendment and the difference it could make to individual lives
  • That any reservations MPs previously had will be allayed through the recent revisions to the amendment, and will lead to the amendment being passed.
World Watch List Top 50

Order the World Watch List 2021 Top 50 booklet to help you pray for your persecuted family - as well as discovering testimonies, trends, articles and a map of worldwide persecution.


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