Fashion industry accused of “profiting from forced labor by Uyghurs”

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Fashion industry accused of


More than 180 organizations are calling on the major ready-to-wear brands to cut their links with suppliers linked to the camps where Uyghurs are detained.



© afp.com/GREG BAKER
China is the largest producer of cotton in the world, and 84% of its total production comes from Xinjiang. (Illustrative photo)


The pressure on Beijing is growing stronger. As reported International mail, more than 180 organizations, established in 36 countries, are calling on the major ready-to-wear brands to cut their links with suppliers linked to the camps where Uyghurs, the main ethnic group in Xinjiang, a huge region in northwestern China.

“Almost all of the ready-to-wear industry [mondiale] takes advantage of the forced labor of Uyghurs and Turkish-speaking Muslims “deplores a coalition of human rights groups in a statement taken up by The Guardian. China is the largest producer of cotton in the world, and 84% of its total production comes from Xinjiang, the British newspaper said. The cotton is then often transported to ready-to-wear factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia or Vietnam.

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Among the brands singled out by this coalition are Gap, C & A, Adidas, Muji, Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste and Calvin Klein. Asked by The Guardian, Chloe Cranston, of Anti-Slavery International, says it is “very likely that all brands, consumer or luxury, are related to what is happening to the Uyghur people.”

One in five cotton garments contains cotton or yarn produced in Xinjiang

Even before the release of the press release, PVH, the group that owns Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein, announced that it was responding to this call by “ceasing all commercial relations with factories and spinning mills that produce clothing and fabric in Xinjiang or s’ will supply cotton to the region in the next twelve months “, reports le New York Times. According to the American daily, one in five cotton garments sold worldwide contains cotton or yarn produced in Xinjiang.

The Chinese authorities are accused of having, in the name of the fight against terrorism, set up programs of forced labor and large-scale internment in Xinjiang. Between one to two million people would be affected, recalls International mail. Many prisoners are forced to work in fields or factories for very low wages, or even no pay at all.

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The coalition of human rights groups asserts that “the forced labor system implemented in the region is the largest internment program for ethnic and religious minorities since World War II”. Before the National Assembly on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had pointed the “internment camps for Uyghurs, massive detentions, disappearances, forced labor, sterilizations forced “. He also mentioned” the surveillance of the population and more generally all the repressive system established in this region “. “lies” according to Beijing.

On March 2, a australian think tank revealed in a detailed 56-page report that “factories resort to forced labor by Uyghurs as part of a transfer mechanism supervised by the Chinese state, which taints production chains on a global scale”. Among the brands pinned were already big names in textiles, such as Adidas, Lacoste, Gap, Nike, Puma, Uniqlo, H&M, but also electronics (Apple, Sony, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia …), or more cars (BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar …).

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