Al Jazeera reports that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has sanctioned two Chinese firms, battery manufacturer Camel Group and spice and extract manufacturer Chenguang Biotech Group for targeting members of persecuted groups in their supply chain.
The targeted groups include Uyghurs, a Muslim minority in China at the center of ongoing state sanctioned forced labor and human rights violations. The sanctions are part of an ongoing effort by DHS to “eliminate the use of forced labor practices in the US supply chain”.
Forced labor risk in Uyghur Region goods
In December 2021 U.S. President Joe Biden signed the “Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act”, which entered into force last year. Without “clear and convincing evidence”, all goods produced with connections to the Uyghur Region are assumed to be made with some element of forced labor and are now banned from import to the U.S.
US Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said:
“We will continue to work with all of our partners to keep goods made with forced labor from Xinjiang out of US commerce while facilitating the flow of legitimate trade,”
According to DHS, 24 companies have been sanctioned under the legislation since it passed.
End Uyghur forced labor and genocide
While the Chinese government claims its policies towards Uyghurs and other minorities are in place to prevent “extremism”, rights groups and other officials have accused China of genocide and crimes against humanity in their treatment of the Uyghurs. According to the United Nations at least one million Uyghurs have been detained in government run “counter-extremism centres” in the Uyghur Region. The product import ban and sanctions in the U.S. legislation aim to help end state sponsored Uyghur forced labor.
DHS stated the policies:
“promote accountability for the ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity against Uyghurs and other religious and ethnic minority groups”
Freedom United applauds the enforcement of laws aimed at preventing forced labor from entering the supply chain and calls on governments everywhere to put in place mechanisms for rigorous scrutiny of the supply chain for all goods being imported.
Take action calling for an end to the forced labor of Uyghurs in China. Join the campaign by signing the Freedom United petition!