Statement: Beijing 2022 Olympics stakeholders must uphold human rights standards

The Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour condemns the current contract between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Hengyuanxiang (HYX) Group which has ties to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The IOC has contracted the HYX Group for the provision of IOC uniforms for the Tokyo 2021 Summer Olympics and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Senior Advocacy Officer at Freedom United, Krysta Bisnauth, notes that, “The involvement of the Chinese government in the forced labour and repression in the Uyghur Region, Tibet, Southern Mongolia and Hong Kong, as well as the reported deterioration in human rights protection following the 2008 Summer Beijing Olympics, has been well-publicised. It is therefore more important than ever that the IOC ensures strict compliance with its guiding human rights principles from all Games stakeholders, including the IOC itself.”

In February 2021, the Coalition called on the IOC to articulate its human rights due diligence plan for the 2022 Olympics, in alignment with the IOC’s own Host City Contract Operational Requirements, to ensure that the Games have limited adverse human rights impacts. We share the spirit of the IOC’s outlined human rights principles, particularly where it states that “The responsibility to respect human rights concerns any organisation, wherever it operates and irrespective of any measure taken by governmental authorities… Risks for human rights should be considered in relation to all Games-related activities…” The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games Sustainable Sourcing Code also stated “Suppliers, etc. shall not compel workers to engage in any forms of forced labour, or be involved in human trafficking, throughout the production, distribution and other processes of procured products.”

In March 2020, the IOC committed to developing a comprehensive and cohesive human rights strategy. However, the Coalition and the rest of the world are still awaiting evidence of the IOC’s measures to uphold its own requirements.The Coalition would therefore like to outline our expectations for participating Beijing 2022 Olympics stakeholders in accordance with IOC human rights requirements:

The IOC:
● Disclose the written assurances received from the Chinese Olympic Committee regarding specific commitments to uphold human rights during the Games.
● Insist that procurement of any goods or merchandise for the Games comply with the ILO core labour standards.
● Implement the IOC reporting tool to address complaints about press freedom violations during the Games.
● Respond in a timely manner to requests from civil society organisations and trade unions related to the Games.
● Refuse cooperation and engagement with surveillance companies and state entities which develop, facilitate or perform monitoring and censorship of its citizens and residents.

Sponsors:
● Prohibit Uyghur and any other forced labour related to the manufacture and provision of Olympic merchandise.
● Publicly commit to the Call to Action to End Uyghur Forced Labour.

National Olympic Committees:
● Ensure no uniforms or athletic apparel are made with forced labour.
● Provide athletes and team staff briefings on Uyghur forced labour.

The Coalition expects all participating stakeholders to ensure that they do not cause, contribute or benefit from the exaction of forced labour of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples.

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.