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Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Charges against C&A for forced labor

Human rights group European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) has filed a complaint with the Public Prosecution Service against a group of clothing companies including C&A, Nike, Patagonia and State of Art. According to ECCHR, those companies have made products from Chinese cotton, which is produced with slave labor.

In the Xinjiang region of China, the original inhabitants, the Uyghurs, are oppressed by China. They are also put to work in what China calls re-education camps. ECCHR argues that cotton from Xinjiang is therefore made with forced labor and that the companies that use the raw material are therefore partly responsible for human rights violations. 

The complaint was filed in the Netherlands because the companies involved are registered here or have their European headquarters.

Great importance

The Dutch charity Clean Clothes Campaign (SKC) calls on the Public Prosecution Service to tackle the case quickly. “It is vital that legal means are used to enforce human rights in the supply chains of companies that outsource their production,” said Wyger Wentholt of SKC. According to him, clothing chains are still hiding too much behind excuses.

Incidentally, earlier this year many brands said they would no longer use cotton from Xinjiang, including Nike. That put those brands on a boycott in China, where consumers believe the move constitutes an unjustified accusation against their country. Chinese brands took advantage of the nationalistic atmosphere among Chinese shoppers.