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Artigo

28 Nov 2022

Author:
Tom Canetti, SBS News

Australia: Govt. called to amend Modern Slavery Act to prevent slavery links in solar panel supply chains

"Slavery links and quality concerns: Why there could be a dark side to your solar panels", 23 November 2022

Australia should approach its renewable energy transition with caution, experts say, amid concerns of labour exploitation in the production of solar panels.

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The United Nations says China may be committing crimes against humanity in Xinjiang, with experts accusing the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) of exploiting its Uyghur Muslim minority into forced labour to make products including solar panels.

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Solar panel production is linked to slave labour, according to Martijn Boersma, an associate professor of modern slavery at Western Australia's University of Notre Dame.

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“Solar-grade polysilicon producers are connected to Uyghur forced labour – either directly through participation in state-sponsored forced labour schemes, or indirectly through the sourcing of their raw materials.”

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Freya Dinshaw, a senior lawyer at the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC), said the Australian government must amend the Modern Slavery Act to prevent links between slave labour and Australian companies' supply chains.
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Under the current modern slavery legislation in Australia, companies are only required to report on risks in their supply chains, and there is no punishment for non-compliance.

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Program Manager at Campaign for Uyghurs in Washington DC, Arslan Hidayat, also said the Australian government needs to do more to prevent products with slavery links, such as solar panels, from being sold in Australia.

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"There seems to be a battle between what's more important: climate change or human rights," he said.

"Obviously, both of them are very important issues. But you have these heartless, major conglomerate companies, that are using the excuse of climate change as a loophole to try and get in their products."

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