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2 Dez 2021

Dutch News (The Netherlands)

C&A under fire over Chinese cotton, German NGO starts legal action

A German human rights group is taking legal action against clothing company C&A and several other brands in the Netherlands, accusing them of complicity in human rights abuses in China. Similar cases are also underway in Germany and France, but this is the first of its kind in the Netherlands… [ECCHR] wants the Dutch public prosecution department to investigate the companies’ alleged complicity in human rights violations which, it says, could amount to crimes against humanity.

Tens of thousands of members of the Muslim Uyghur minority in Xinjiang, China, are said to be forced to harvest cotton and manufacture clothing – which is also sold on the European market via international supply chains. ‘The choice to not only focus on national criminal law regarding labour exploitation, but to broaden the complaint to crimes against humanity, underlines the scale of the crimes that are committed in Xinjiang,’ Van Straaten [lawyer who filed the charges on behalf of ECCHR] said. ‘It is also in line with statements from politicians and NGOs qualifying the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang as genocide and crimes against humanity.’

… [T]he claims centers on socks from C&A, sneakers from Nike, outdoor clothing produced by Patagonia and men’s fashion from State of Art. C&A [said] that it bought no clothing, fabrics or threat from factories in Xinjiang.

However, ECCHR says there is strong evidence that the cotton threads ended up in C&A socks via intermediaries….

Patagonia told the paper the company bought no cotton from China, State of Art said it was unable to respond and Nike did not reply to requests for a statement.