The U.S. and Japan have joined their efforts in the pursuit of shedding greater light on worker exploitation in supply chains, setting up a task force to highlight international labor standards and promote human rights.
Together for change
On January 6, the two governments signed a memorandum of cooperation on cybersecurity to bolster collaboration on upholding human rights and preventing forced labor in supply chains.
Talks centered around the growing might of production giant China, notably on their treatment of Uyghur Muslims. Notably, the statements were followed by a call to action for other governments to join.
“The United States and Japan cannot do this alone,” U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai
“To make this work, we must partner with all relevant stakeholders – worker organizations, businesses, and civil society – to bring about lasting and meaningful change. We must also invite other governments to join us as we push ahead to safeguard the dignity of workers everywhere.”
Amongst the statements made about this initiative, were mentions of China denying the ethnic genocide, systematic forced labor and arbitrary imprisonment of Uyghurs and other Muslims in China’s Uyghur Region. The United States’ Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act took effect last year and aims at cutting U.S. imports from that region.
As Trade Representative Tai and Minister Nishimura both shared in their statements, there needs to be a greater collective effort if change is to be achieved.
Government officials need to place enforcement of human rights and labor best practices at the forefront of their approach to governance. Businesses need to pull the curtains back on their suppliers and drive up standards for all workers in their supply chains. All businesses have a greater role to play in identifying and remedying human rights abuses, including forced labor, in their operations.
Right now, there are millions of people all over the world being forced to work to produce goods that we use every single day. But we can help change this by requiring big business and governments to act. Thousands in the Freedom United community are urgently calling for laws that put people and planet before profit.
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