More than 180 civil society organisations issue call to action for apparel brands and retailers to end forced labour of ethnic minorities in China in their supply chains
“180+ Orgs Demand Apparel Brands End Complicity in Uyghur Forced Labour”, July 2020
… 72 Uyghur rights groups … [and]
over 100 civil society organisations [and] labour unions … [have called] on apparel brands and retailers to stop using forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region … and end their complicity in the Chinese government’s human rights abuses.
The groups have issued a call to action seeking brand commitments to cut all ties with suppliers implicated in forced labour and end all sourcing from the Uyghur Region…
“… To end the slavery and horrific abuses … brands must ensure their supply chains are not linked to the atrocities against these people…” said Jasmine O’Connor OBE, CEO of Anti-Slavery International.
The Chinese government has rounded up an estimated 1 to 1.8 million Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim people in detention and forced-labour camps … A central element of the government’s strategy … is a vast system of forced labour…
… [A] Kazakh woman who was … subjected to forced labour in a factory said: “The clothes factory was no different from the [internment] camp. There were police, cameras, you couldn’t go anywhere.”
Despite global outrage at the abuses, leading apparel brands are bolstering and benefiting from the government’s assault on the peoples of the region … Roughly 1 in 5 cotton garments sold globally contains cotton and/or yarn from the Uyghur Region … Moreover, apparel brands maintain lucrative partnerships with Chinese corporations implicated in forced labour…
… Major corporations claim not to tolerate forced labour by their suppliers, but have offered no credible explanation as to how they can meet this standard while continuing to do business in a region where forced labour is rife.