The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in the U.K. is seeking to separate British organizations from the extra-judicial detentions and forced labor that Uyghur Muslims and other minorities are undergoing at the hands of the ruling Chinese Communist Party in the province of Xinjiang. Citing “proof from the Chinese authorities’ own government documents,” the U.K. government will be undertaking a “review into which U.K. products can be exported to Xinjiang” and introducing “financial penalties for businesses that do not comply with the Modern Slavery Act.” It will be issuing guidelines on procurement and other matters to U.K. businesses and to public bodies to “exclude businesses complicit in human rights violations from their supply chains.” “Compliance will be mandatory for central government, non-departmental bodies and executive agencies.”
Canada, which has been working with the U.K. on the issue, has made a parallel announcement to introduce seven measures. The Canadian government will ban imports produced wholly or in part by forced labor, requiring Canadian companies to submit a Xinjiang Integrity Declaration, issuing a business advisory on Xinjiang-related entities, issuing “enhanced advice” to Canadian businesses, implementing export controls, conducting an awareness campaign for “Responsible Business Conduct linked to Xinjiang,” and conducting a study on forced labor and supply chain risks.
We recently reported about the action taken by the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and the Call to Action Coalition on the issue, including the BBC’s report about the problem.