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2 Jul 2021


French launch probe into Uniqlo, Zara owner and others over forced Uighur labour

French magistrates have opened an inquiry into allegations four fashion groups, including Uniqlo and the owner of Zara, profited from forced labour of the Uighur minority in China, a judicial source said on Thursday (July 1).

Magistrates at the national anti-terror prosecutor's office in Paris are probing claims the multinational companies are complicit in crimes against humanity...

The case is based on a complaint lodged in April by the anti-corruption group Sherpa, the French branch of the Clean Clothes Campaign, and the Uighur Institute of Europe, as well as by a Uighur woman who had been held in a camp in Xinjiang, China.

They accused Inditex, the Spanish owner of Zara and other top brands, Uniqlo, the French fashion group SMCP, and the footwear manufacturer Skechers of using cotton produced in the Xinjiang region...

Inditex disputed that it had used cotton from Xinjiang.

"The group has strict traceability controls which have allowed us to determine that the allegations in the complaint are unfounded," a company representative told AFP...

SMCP is alleged to be a shareholder in a firm with factories in Xinjiang, but the company refuted that and said it would work with investigators.