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6 Nov 2023

Jasmin Malik Chua, Sourcing Journal (USA),
// Francis Halin, Le Journal de Montréal (Canada)

Zara Canada investigated in relation to allegations of Uyghur forced labour in its supply chain

Ottawa’s corporate ethics watchdog has opened what it describes as an independent fact-finding investigation into allegations of Uyghur forced labor within Zara Canada’s supply chain.

The Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise, better known as the CORE, said on Monday that it made the decision following an initial assessment report on the Spanish-operated retailer, which in turn was prompted by a complaint from a coalition of 28 organizations, including Stop Uyghur Genocide Canada, the Uyghur Refugee Relief Fund and the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project, last June.

The same coalition previously made similar filings against the Canadian arms of Nike, Levi Strauss & Co., Ralph Lauren, Diesel, Hugo Boss and Walmart, triggering corresponding investigations into their business relationships with Chinese companies identified as using or benefiting from the persecution of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic groups in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Inditex does not have any commercial ties with any factory in that region and the allegations contained in the report are unfounded,” a spokesperson for the company told Sourcing Jouranl. “Our group has a zero-tolerance policy towards any kind of forced labor.”


...the complainants allege that Zara has ties with Huafu Top Dyed Melange Yarn Co., Shandong Zoucheng Guosheng and Xinjiang Zhongtai Group, three Chinese companies singled out by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in 2020 and Sheffield Hallam University’s Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice in 2022 for their involvement in the exploitation of Uyghurs through state-sponsored labor transfers and work placements.