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UK unveils policies to end supply-chain links to Xinjiang

13
Jan '21
Dominic Raab. Pic: Gov.uk
Dominic Raab. Pic: Gov.uk
British firms will face penalties if they fail to meet new government regulations showing their supply chains are free from forced labour, UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab recently said, announcing measures to tackle human rights abuses against the Uighur minority in China’s Xinjiang region. Guidance has been issued on how to carry out due diligence checks.

The government wants to exclude suppliers where it finds evidence of rights violations in their supply chains and also to review export controls to prevent the shipping of any goods that could contribute to such violations in Xinjiang.

“Our aim, put simply, is that no company that profits from forced labour in Xinjiang can do business in the UK and that no UK business is involved in their supply chains,” Raab told lawmakers, without offering details.

Mounting evidence, including first-hand testimony and non-profit reports, supports claims of unlawful mass detention in internment camps, widespread forced labour and forced sterilisation of women on an ‘industrial scale’, Raab was quoted as saying by British media reports.

The evidence ‘paints a harrowing picture’ and showed the practice of ‘barbarism we had hoped lost to another era’, Raab said.

After a speech by British minister James Cleverly targeting alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, China's ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun responded by warning the United Kingdom not to interfere in its internal affairs and terming the allegations a baseless ‘political attack’.

Among the measures announced, the United Kingdom will impose penalty on firms with a turnover of at least $49 million that fail to publish an annual transparency statement as required by the Modern Slavery Act. Details of the fines have not yet been specified.

A fifth of about 18,625 companies required to comply with Britain's anti-slavery law have not issued statements, according to Transparency in the Supply Chain (TISC), a public database.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)


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