In a further strengthening of the international community’s resolve against forced labor in the Uyghur Region, the European Parliament has adopted a resolution condemning the Chinese government and urging EU action.
Freedom United partner World Uyghur Congress (WUC) noted in a press release that this is the fourth time in two years that the European Parliament has adopted a resolution on the Uyghur crisis.
However, the WUC also recognizes that the text of this resolution is notably stronger than the previous three, calling for action through EU-wide mandatory human rights due diligence legislation and strongly condemning Chinese authorities.
Parliament member Reinhard Bütikofer, who has been a prominent voice on the issue in Europe, praised what he called a “vote that will be heard around Europe, and in Beijing, too.”
Raphaël Glucksmann, another member of the European Parliament who spoke on a Freedom United panel earlier this month, called the forced labor crisis the “worst crime against humanity of our time” and urged European leaders to take heed of the resolution.
“Parliament strongly condemns the Chinese government-led system of forced labour — in particular the exploitation of Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh and Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minority groups — in factories within and outside internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region,” the EU body said in a statement Friday.
The statement went on to denounce “the continued transfer of forced labourers to other Chinese administrative divisions, and the fact that well-known European brands and companies have been benefiting from forced Chinese labour.”
The European Parliament’s move comes as the international movement against Uyghur forced labor gains momentum, and new reports emerge revealing the scale of the crisis to be even wider than previously thought.
A report released this week by the Center for Global Policy suggests more than half a million people have been coerced into picking cotton in the Uyghur Region, far more than previously thought
This number does not include Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim people forced to work in other capacities and other sectors, meaning the total number forced to work is even more vast.
Meanwhile, an in-depth BBC report unearthed documents revealing the “historical scale” of the forced labor system, which feeds into the supply chains of numerous multinational brands in the apparel industry and beyond.
Freedom United has been campaigning on the issue since earlier this year and sits on the steering committee of the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region, which this week demanded companies disclose corporate lobbying efforts against promising legislation tackling the issue.
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