At the initiative of the Socialist and Democrats, the European Parliament is voting today on a resolution condemning the Chinese government led system of forced labour. There is credible evidence that hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other minorities are being detained in camps, or used as forced labour in factories, with the unacceptable involvement of well-known European brands and companies.
For the S&Ds, the ongoing persecution of Uyghurs amounts to a crime against humanity that must be punished and stopped. Products that violate human rights in the supply chain should be banned under the new EU due diligence legislation. Finally, the S&Ds call on the Chinese government to immediately ratify international conventions against forced labour.
S&D vice-president for foreign affairs and negotiator of the resolution, Kati Piri MEP, said ahead of the vote:
“The atrocities being committed by the Chinese state against the Uyghur population and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region are almost beyond compare. They include torture, forced separation, digital surveillance and the compulsory sterilization of Uyghur women. Out of the 10 million Uyghurs in Xinjiang, more than one million are detained in internment camps. Nine hundred thousand children have been taken from their parents and placed in state orphanages. Let's be clear: the Chinese state is committing a crime against humanity.
“It is absolutely unacceptable that some European companies are complicit. More than half a million Uyghurs are being used as forced labour to pick the cotton from which our clothes are made. This is modern slavery that must be punished!
“The EU must immediately make use of the recently adopted new EU sanctions regime against the worst human rights perpetrators. Chinese officials and state-owned companies responsible for the forced labour, mass imprisonment and repression must be added to the sanctions list.
“In our European stores there is no room for products with the stain of Uyghur forced labour. Any product that violates human rights in the supply chain should be banned in the new EU due diligence legislation.”