There is a human rights crisis in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, known to local people as East Turkestan (Uyghur Region). Since 2017, the Chinese government has placed an estimated 1.8 million predominantly Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples, including Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and Hui, in detention camps, prisons, and factories.

“Human Rights Risks in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – Practical Guidance for Investors” informs investors of the salient risks to people associated with the business activities of their portfolio companies in or connected with the Uyghur Region. It provides practical guidance to investors on how to engage with its portfolio companies, as well as other stakeholders, to identify, prevent and mitigate those risks, as they may arise at different stages of the business process or the product lifecycle.

This Guidance discusses: 

Human Rights Due Diligence and the challenges of applying commonly
 used methods of human rights due diligence to business activities in or connected with the Uyghur Region. It highlights key UN Guiding Principles concepts that enable investors to conduct enhanced human rights due diligence of their holdings as appropriate for conflict-affected and high-risk environments.

Assessing Exposure and Engaging with Portfolio Companies during investment decision-making processes and throughout the investment lifecycle for salient human rights risks. It addresses investors’ risks of holding shares in companies involved with adverse human rights impacts in the Uyghur Region and discusses responsible divestment where companies are unwilling or unable to prevent or mitigate such adverse human right impacts.

Guiding questions for investors to address with portfolio companies in order to evaluate efforts to conduct human rights due diligence and to address and manage actual or potential human rights risks in their operations and value chains, connected to the Uyghur Region.

Collaborative action with other investors, civil society stakeholders, international organizations, and policymakers as likely the most effective way to amplify investor leverage to encourage companies to take action to address human rights harms and to achieve more impactful outcomes due to the systemic nature of the human rights violations in the Uyghur Region and the perpetration of abuses by Chinese authorities.

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