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UK: Foreign Secretary announces package of measures to help UK business avoid complicity in human rights violations against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang

“UK Government announces business measures over Xinjiang human rights abuses”, 12 January 2021

… [T]he Foreign Secretary has announced a package of measures to help ensure that British organisations, whether public or private sector, are not complicit in, nor profiting from, the human rights violations in Xinjiang.

Evidence of gross human rights violations … has been growing… The UK Government has repeatedly called on China to end these practices, and uphold its national laws and international obligations.

The measures are designed to send a clear signal to China that these violations are unacceptable.

… Together these measures will help UK organisations ensure that they are not contributing to the abuse of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.

Coordinated international action is needed to address the risk of forced labour entering global supply chains...

The Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said:

The evidence of the scale and severity of the human rights violations being perpetrated in Xinjiang against the Uyghur Muslims is now far reaching. Today we are announcing a range of new measures

Specifically, the measures include:

  • A review of export controls as they apply to Xinjiang to ensure the Government is doing all it can to prevent the exports of goods that may contribute to human rights abuses in the region…
  • The introduction of financial penalties for organisations who fail to meet their statutory obligations to publish annual modern slavery statements, under the Modern Slavery Act.
  • … [G]uidance to UK business setting out the specific risks faced by companies with links to Xinjiang and underlining the challenges of effective due diligence there.
  • [G]uidance and support … [on] public procurement rules to exclude suppliers where there is sufficient evidence of human rights violations in supply chains. Compliance will be mandatory for central government, non-departmental bodies and executive agencies
  • A Minister led campaign of business engagement to reinforce the need for UK businesses to take action to address the risk.

Part of the following stories

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

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

UK: Government announces measures to address risk of UK business complicity in human rights violations against ethnic minorities in Xinjiang