UK: Conservative MP asks BT if using Huawei complies with anti-slavery policy
Author: Dan Sabbagh, the Guardian, Published on: 5 March 2020
“A Conservative MP has asked BT to investigate whether using Huawei is compliant with its anti-slavery policy after an Australian thinktank alleged that some of the Chinese firm’s subcontractors used forced labour from the country’s Muslim minority.”
“The MP cited a study – Uyghurs For Sale – from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), which concluded that “under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour” Uighurs are working in the supply chain of Huawei and dozens of other global brands.”
"Seely asked Jansen [BT’s chief executive officer] what he intended to do about the allegations in light of BT’s modern slavery statement, which says: 'we’re against all forms of modern slavery, everywhere'"
"A group of about 30 Tories want the government to rethink its decision to allow Huawei to supply 35% of 5G network equipment in the UK – and not use the company at all amid fears its technology could be exploited for mass surveillance by the Chinese state."
“In his letter to Jansen, Seely quoted the report as he set out his concerns: “In these factories far from home, Uighur workers are typically forced to lead a harsh, segregated life under so-called military-style management.”
“Huawei said it was aware of the ASPI report and was investigating. A spokesperson said: ‘We require all our suppliers to comply with international standards and applicable laws as a condition of doing business with us. We have read the ASPI report and are looking into the matter.’”
“BT said it was already in discussions with Huawei. A BT spokesperson said: ‘We’re committed to respecting human rights, including international labour standards, in our own business and in our supply chain.”
“‘Forced labour is never acceptable in our own operations or those of our suppliers, and we have engaged with Huawei in connection with these allegations.’”