Coalition Open Letter to European Commission on Initiatives to Address Uyghur Forced Labour

On November 9th, 2021, the Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region and other individual organisations sent an open letter to European Commissioners involved in European Union’s (EU) Sustainable Corporate Governance Initiative, urging them to make sure the upcoming proposal contains robust and comprehensive provisions. In addition, the letter emphasises that this initiative must be complemented by equally ambitious measures such as an import control mechanism on forced labour goods and the use of sanctions regimes.

As the EU is China’s biggest trading partner, European businesses and consumers in particular are exposed to Uyghur forced labour. The European Commission is expected to soon come up with a legislative proposal that would make it mandatory for companies based or operating in the EU market to conduct due diligence to address human rights and environment abuses. In the open letter, the Coalition sets out recommendations for robust and comprehensive provisions that are required to address the egregious human rights abuses against people from the Uyghur Region in China.

In addition, the letter argues that the upcoming due diligence legislation should be complemented by equally strong and ambitious supplementary mechanisms. As a mechanism that is particularly relevant to address Uyghur forced labour, we urge the EU Commission  to introduce import controls to block or seize the imports of goods made or transported in whole or in part with forced labour. Further supplementary measures include Uyghur-specific guidelines or country fact sheets and additional listings under the EU’s sanctions regime.

The full letter is available here.


About the Coalition

The Coalition to End Forced Labour in the Uyghur Region is a coalition of civil society organisations and trade unions united to end state-sponsored forced labour and other egregious human rights abuses against people from the Uyghur Region in China, known to local people as East Turkistan.

The coalition is calling on leading companies to ensure that they are not supporting or benefiting from the pervasive and extensive forced labour of the Uyghur population and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples, perpetrated by the Chinese government.

We call on governments, multi-stakeholder initiatives, companies, and other stakeholders to join us in challenging this abusive system and together build the economic and political pressure on the Chinese government to end forced labour in the Uyghur Region.