The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a subsidiary of the human rights group, has filed a complaint with prosecutors against a group of apparel companies including C&A, Nike, Patagonia and the State of Art. According to ECCHR, these companies make products from Chinese cotton, which is produced with forced labor.
In the Xinjiang region of China, the indigenous people, the Uyghurs, are persecuted by China. They are also put to work in what China calls re-education camps. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights holds that cotton from Xinjiang is made through forced labor and that companies using the raw materials are partly responsible for human rights abuses.
The complaint was lodged in the Netherlands because the companies in question are either registered here or are headquartered in Europe.
The Dutch Clean Clothes Charitable Campaign (SKC) is calling on the Public Prosecution Service to address the issue quickly. “It is essential to use legal means to enforce human rights in the supply chains of companies that outsource their production,” said SKC’s Wyger Wentholt. According to him, clothing chains are still hiding behind excuses.
Incidentally, earlier this year several brands said they would no longer use cotton from Xinjiang, including Nike. This led to a boycott of those brands in China, as consumers believe the move constitutes an unwarranted accusation against their country. Chinese brands have benefited from the national atmosphere among Chinese shoppers.
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