Latest modern slavery fight updates - FreedomUnited.org

Foreign court hears legal case from Uyghurs for the first time ever

  • Published on
    October 25, 2022
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Anti-Slavery Activists, Forced Labor, Law & Policy, Supply Chain
Hero Banner

In what is believed to be the first time ever, according to ABC news, a foreign court has heard legal arguments from Uyghurs regarding forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China.

The case is being brought against the U.K. home secretary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency (NCA) by the World Uyghur Congress and the Global Legal Action Network. They claim a failure or refusal to investigate imports from the Uyghur Region is unlawful.

U.K. in breach of own laws

Their legal team stated on Tuesday that there were reasonable grounds to suspect breaches of U.K. criminal and civil law under the Foreign Prison-Made Goods Act 1897 and the Proceeds of Crime Act (Poca) 2002.

ABC News reports,

Gearóid Ó Cuinn, the Global Legal Action Network’s director, said the group submitted almost 1,000 pages of evidence — including company records, NGO investigations and Chinese government documents — to the U.K. and U.S. governments in 2020 to back its case. British authorities have taken no action so far, he said.

“Right now, U.K. consumers are systematically exposed to consumer goods tainted by forced labor,” Ó Cuinn said. “It does demonstrate the lack of political will.”

No more tolerance for U.K. inaction on Uyghur forced labor

This may be the first case, but it will not be the last. Erbakit Ortabay, a former detainee and forced labor survivor, is preparing to sue the U.K. government for its inaction on the importation of Uyghur forced labor goods. Earlier in October, the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) also made a submission to the Irish government, demanding a ban on goods from the Uyghur Region.

These legal suits follow the U.S. enactment of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act which assumes that goods made in the Uyghur Region are made with forced labor and therefore are not allowed to cross U.S. borders and the E.U. forced labor import ban proposal which will be decided on later this year.

Advocates and former Conservative party leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith, say the U.K. is “dragging its heels” despite the fact that clothing is among the top five goods imported from China to the U.K., worth about $4 billion in imports in 2021 alone.

The WUC argues that 85% of China’s cotton is grown in the Uyghur Region implicating a sizeable chunk of the U.K.’s imports. The U.K.’s Modern Slavery Act requires companies to disclose any abuses in their supply chains – but there is no penalty for not conducting audits or other due diligence. Shipping trade data for the Uyghur Region is not available to the public.

Join the movement!

Freedom United and over 280 organizations, led front and center by survivors and families of current detainees, are calling on the Chinese government to close its camps and set these people free.

Join the campaign today.

Subscribe

Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

This week

Despite global pressure, cobalt mining still tainted by forced child labor

Cobalt is a mineral mined mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is critical to the battery technology used in things like electric vehicles and cell phones. But dubious ethics and exploitative labor practices, particularly the use of child labor, continue to haunt the sector according to an article in Wards 100. More must be done to keep children safe. Children working like Gold Rush miners Despite efforts to find a replacement for this

| Tuesday July 16, 2024

Read more