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1 Mai 2024

Igor Patrick, South China Morning Post

USA: DOL official says conducting due diligence on forced labour in Xinjiang "impossible", only way to comply with UFLPA is not to operate there

“China thwarts accurate audits of Xinjiang supply chains, US lawmakers hear” 1 May 2024

Conducting due diligence in Xinjiang supply chains over the use of forced Uygur labour is “impossible” under the conditions set by the Chinese government, and the “only responsible thing to do is not to operate” there, Thea Lee, the deputy undersecretary for international affairs at the US Department of Labour, told a congressional panel on Tuesday.

In 2020, the US Congress passed the Uygur Forced Labour Prevention Act...To comply with the law, companies often rely on external audits to certify the absence of forced labour in their supply chain. However, experts contend that these inspections are susceptible to manipulation by Chinese companies and government officials. Some constraints also prevent people from freely reporting potential violations.

Lee emphasised that no audit can occur without government oversight, which makes “objective worker interviews free from reprisal an impossibility”. Workers face labour and legal repercussions if they are candid with auditors, and inspections are often manipulated by managers who only authorise employees to discuss their conditions “when they already know what will be said”.

She said that, unlike unions, “social audits parachute in and out”. The absence of structured organisations that protect workers’ rights not only during auditor visits but also in their daily lives leads many workers to “anticipate trouble if they answer questions honestly”...

Part of the following timelines

China: 83 major brands implicated in report on forced labour of ethnic minorities from Xinjiang assigned to factories across provinces; Includes company responses

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang

China: Mounting concerns over forced labour in Xinjiang

USA: Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act comes into effect