Prominent Catholic politicians are calling on the support of Catholic Universe readers as they have vowed to continue their battle to provide justice for victims of genocide after the UK Government was branded ‘shameful’ for blocking a vote on the ‘crime of crimes’.
Catholic peer Lord David Alton of Liverpool has urged readers of The Catholic Universe to contact their MPs, encouraging them to “vote with their conscience” on the issue when they have another chance to do so.
The call comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson narrowly avoided a Tory rebellion over signing trade deals with countries suspected of committing genocide. MPs narrowly voted to remove two Lords amendments from the Trade Bill, including one tabled by Lord Alton, which would have forced ministers to withdraw from any free trade agreement with any country which the High Court ruled is committing genocide.
It was replaced by a Government-backed compromise amendment aimed at giving Parliament a vote on whether to pursue agreements with such countries.
However, politicians called this option ‘parliamentary gameplay’ and “chicanery” in obstructing a straight vote on the issue by arranging it so that any Conservative rebels who voted in favour of Lord Alton’s amendment would also be backing a separate Labour-sponsored amendment.
Catholic Tory MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘Parliament should have had an historic opportunity to end decades of dither over the ‘crime of crimes’ – genocide – and provide a meaningful avenue for justice and accountability.’
Lord Alton confirmed to The Catholic Universe that he will table a further amendment next week. “I will be laying a further amendment before the House of Lords; if passed it will give MPs the chance to vote on the central question of providing a judicial decision on whether a genocide is underway,” he said.
“It is deplorable that such a vote has been denied by machinations and chicanery.”
He said if a competent Court was to be given this power it would force Government to fulfil its duties under the 1948 genocide Convention, putting genocide prevention at the heart of foreign policy.
He urged Catholic Universe readers and the public to “contact MPs and urge them to vote with their consciences and to back Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who will be leading the House of Commons campaign to provide justice for victims of genocide.”
Picture: Rohingya Muslims protest against their treatment in Myanmar. (CNS).