US News Forced labor in Xinjiang: major brands of loan-to-wear targeted by a complaint in France

00:30  10 april  2021
00:30  10 april  2021 Source:   liberation.fr

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Devant un magasin Uniqlo à Tokyo, jeudi. © Kazuhiro Nogi in front of a UNQLO store in Tokyo, Thursday.

" Recel of aggravated bondage reduction crime, a crime of human beings in organized band, genocide crime and crime against humanity". The words weigh heavily in the complaint filed with the judicial court of Paris against multinational clothing by a collective represented by the lawyer of the lawyer William Bourdon.

For more than a year, the Uyghours and other Turkish peoples of the Xinjiang, human rights and labor law NGOs, journalists and researchers alert on massive practices of forced work in this region of L Extreme West of China, where 85% of Chinese cotton is grown, or 20% of world production. This concerns both the cotton picking and the working conditions in the hundreds of textile factories that turn to full speed.

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"complices of serious crimes"

The NGO Sherpa, the Ethical Collective on the label, The Uyghur Institute of Europe and a Ughur, direct witness of the forced refrigeration of the population, have decided to submit to The French justice of the elements on the commercial links maintained by signs and distributors of the textile sector in Xinjiang and "allow the French courts to decide on their possible criminal liability". The collective wishes to terminate what it considers to be an impunity for marks, which are discharged on their subcontractors of their responsibility in terms of human rights.

According to the complainants, who say they are based on public information, "Inditex companies (including Zara brands, Bershka, Pull and Bear, Massimo Dutti), UNIQLO, SMCP (which holds Sandro, Maje brands , Claudie Pierlot, Fursac) and Skechers as well as many other transnational corporations, would continue to subcontract part of their production [in Xinjiang] or to market goods using cotton produced in the region, making it complicit of serious crimes who are perpetrated there ". The elements collected seem sufficient for a survey to be open.

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In fact, many companies in the sector are likely, at one stage or another of their production, to enjoy, consciously or not, the coercive politics led by Beijing towards the Turkish peoples, whether it is In Xinjiang or in factories of the rest of China where Uyghur workers are sent. Spanish Inditex, accused, like Japanese Uniqlo, to provide thread and fabric in Xinjiang, provided in December to release "not having links with Chinese companies identified as being able to use forced labor" and stressed that the "group does not endorse any form of forced labor".

Boycott in China

This complaint should be the first in a series launched in several European countries and, under the terms of the press release, "is part of the long-standing advocacy by our organizations to combat the impunity of transnational corporations and the access of victims to justice and reparation ". It intervenes in a tense context with China on the issue of human rights in Xinjiang, enamelled sanctions taken by Europe against Chinese executives involved in the persecution of Xinjiang and, in return, of sanctions Placed by China against researchers and elected .

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The UNIQLO, H & M, Nike or Adidas brands, which had committed in 2020 to no longer use Xinjiang cotton, are themselves the target, for a few days, of boycott campaigns in China. The question is also at the heart of the debates on the ratification of the investment agreement signed at the end of December between China and the European Union.

Friday, the Elysée recalled its "expectations" "on the ratification of the fundamental conventions of the International Labor Organization, including forced labor, given the very great concerns and concerns of France, but also. Of all the European public opinion on the situation of the Uighours and the more global situation of the Xinjiang ".

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