Research shows there is widespread use of Uyghur forced labour within the information and communication technology (ICT) industry:
- Factories inside and outside the Uyghur Region that produce inputs for electronics goods are implicated in the mass, involuntary transfer of Uyghurs and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples from the Region who are then subject to forced labor.
- Over 80 well-known brands, including in the technology sector, have potentially directly or indirectly benefited from the use of Uyghur workers outside the Uyghur Region through labour transfer programs.
- The world’s largest contract electronics manufacturer, which makes devices for several of the biggest brands is implicated in Uyghur forced labour through direct participation in forced labour schemes.
- Priority areas of pairing programs, where mainland provinces are partnered with specific places in the Uyghur Region, include electronics manufacturing and mining of rare earth metals that are used in consumer electronics.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) went into effect in the United States on June 21, 2022. The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly, or in part, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Uyghur Region), or produced by certain entities implicated in forced labour, is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods, wares, articles, and merchandise are not entitled to entry to the U.S. The presumption also applies to goods made in, or shipped through, China and other countries that include inputs made in Xinjiang. Companies must provide clear and convincing evidence that goods are not mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part by forced labor.
The Coalition is demanding that companies apply a single global standard, consistent with the requirements of the UFLPA, across their entire supply chain for all retail markets. We also call on companies to refrain from re-exporting any goods denied entry to the U.S. under the auspices of the UFLPA and attempting to sell in other markets, which would create markets for goods tainted with forced labour. Specifically, we demand that companies comply fully with the UFLPA and:
- Commit to apply a single global standard, aligned with the legal requirements set forth in the UFLPA, to exclude Uyghur forced labour across its supply chains, and to not bifurcate their supply chains.
- Commit to not re-exporting goods detained under the auspices of the UFLPA to other markets.
We encourage shareholders and advocates to join us in calling on companies to make these commitments by asking:
- Is the company applying a single global standard, aligned with the legal requirements set forth in the UFLPA, to exclude Uyghur forced labour across its supply chains, and to not bifurcate its supply chains?
- Is the company committed to not re-exporting goods detained under the auspices of the UFLPA to other markets?
- If the company is committed to the above statements, how is it implementing these commitments?
- If the company is not committed to a single global standard, how is it ensuring that goods imported into markets other than the US are not tainted?
In particular, the Coalition calls on the following companies, which independent research has credibly and publicly identified as operating or having business relationships in the Uyghur Region, or as at high risk of sourcing from the Uyghur Region, and that have a presence or sell goods in the U.S., to commit to these demands.
In September 2022, the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre sought responses to the four above questions from these companies. Of the ten companies, only six (60%) responded. The Coalition will be following up with these companies about their actions to remove Uyghur forced labour across their supply chain. See all company responses here.
- Apple (no response)
- Cisco Systems (response)
- Dell (response)
- Google (response)
- HP (response)
- Intel (no response)
- Microsoft (no response)
- Nvidia (response)
- Samsung (no response)
- Sony (response)
The Coalition equally calls on all companies, including those without a US market, to apply a single global standard, in line with the Coalition’s Brand commitment to exit the Uyghur Region and prevent use of forced labour of Uyghur and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples / UFPLA, which includes a commitment to not bifurcate their supply chains. This demand is made in consideration of existing and forthcoming laws in other jurisdictions, particularly the EU and EU Member States, and to raise business standards globally.
For ICT companies wishing to speak with the Coalition, please email [email protected].
- 23 Major Brands Suspected of Illegally Sourcing Products Made by Forced Labor in China, Insider (Dec 2022)
- State Imposed Forced Labor in China, Swedish Buyers’ Monitoring of Electronics Supply Chains (Dec 2021)
- US Electronics Firm Struck Deal to Transport and Hire Uyghur Workers, Reuters (Oct 2021)
- Chinese Suppliers to Apple, Nike Shun Xinjiang Workers as U.S. Forced-Labor Ban Looms, Wall Street Journal (Jul 2021)
- Addressing Forced Labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region: Toward a Shared Agenda, Center for Strategic and International Studies (Jul 2020)
- Gadgets for Tech Giants Made with Coerced Uighur Labor, Associated Press (Mar 2020)
- Global Supply Chains, Forced Labor, and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Congressional-Executive Commission on China (Mar 2020)
- Uyghurs for Sale, Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Mar 2020)