Millions of Uyghurs are currently being detained by Chinese authorities and held in concentration and forced labour camps in the Uyghur Region of China, or forcibly transported to work in facilities in other regions in China. Too many companies, across industries such as apparel, solar, technology and agriculture, are complicit in Uyghur forced labour throughout their supply chains, imposing conditions intended to destroy the Uyghur people, with little if any accountability while continuing to profit from Uyghur forced labour.
Slavery is fundamental to the narrative of the Jewish people. The Jewish festival of Pesach recalls the story of Exodus, in which the Israelites were liberated from the shackles of slavery, and we acknowledge our freedom in prayer: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁלֹּא עָשַֽׂנִי עָֽבֶד . As a people, we are guided by our experience and fundamental principles of justice and fairness. We believe that the British public, and the Jewish community, have an important role in ensuring these principles apply when slavery and persecution are experienced by others.
When 80% of Chinese cotton comes from the Uyghur region, and 20% of the world’s cotton comes from China, the reality is that one in five cotton garments globally is most likely tainted by forced Uyghur labour.
It is up to governments to adopt legislation that will stand against products made with Uyghur forced labour and companies must exit the Uyghur Region at every level of their supply chains, from raw materials to finished products, to prevent the use of forced labour of Uyghurs and other groups in other facilities, and to end relationships with suppliers supporting the forced labour system.
You can access the full briefing here,
Call to Action
Together with over 400 organisations, and as part of the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour, we are calling on leading companies:
- To ensure that they are not supporting or benefiting from the prevalent and extensive forced labour of the Uyghur population and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples, perpetrated by the Chinese government.
- Companies to exit the Uyghur Region at every level of their supply chains, from raw materials to finished products, to prevent the use of forced labour of Uyghurs and other groups in other facilities, and to end relationships with suppliers supporting the forced labour system.
This London Fashion Week, 11-13 June, we call on Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Brioni and other fashion houses and apparel companies to make a commitment to exit the Uyghur region and prevent use of forced labour of Uyghur and other Turkic people.
Write to the CEO of your favourite fashion or apparel company, urging them to take the necessary steps in order to fulfil their corporate responsibility obligations to respect human rights.
Call on the UK government to pass legislation criminalising import of products made by Uyghur forced labour.
When you are next on the high street, before entering these shops, ask yourself – “are forced labour and persecution a price i am willing to pay and a practice to which I can turn a blind eye?”