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24 Jul 2023

Association of Critical Shareholders raises questions to Volkswagen about the announced audit of the VW SAIC plant in China; incl company response

In June 2023, Volkswagen announced that it would have the Volkswagen SAIC plant in Xinjiang, China, audited. The review is to be transparent, independent and external, giving "full transparency to the public", it said.

The plans were criticised by the Association of Critical Shareholders. While the association welcomes the fact that Volkswagen takes the risk of potential human rights violations seriously, it stated in an open letter to Volkswagen that there are "reasonable doubts as to whether an external audit can be an effective and sufficient measure in this specific case". This concerns the drastic policy of repression in the Uyghur region, which makes the collection of valid information impossible. The association therefore wants to know from VW, among other things, how the independence and validity of the results can be guaranteed and whether workers can speak freely and without risk of state repression.

The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre has invited Volkswagen to respond to the letter. In a response VW said it remained intent on commissioning an independent audit of its Xinjiang plant in China and that it was convinced that an audit by an independent auditor can deliver important information about the human rights situation at the Urumqi plant. The company's response in German can be read in full below.

Company Responses

Volkswagen View Response