There are claims that Nike Canada and a gold mining company benefited from Uyghur forced labor in their China operations, and the ethics watchdog in Canada has launched an investigation.
Complaints filed by a coalition of human rights organizations are the basis for the watchdog’s investigations.
Nike asserts that they are no longer associated with the businesses that are alleged to employ Uyghur forced laborers.
These claims, according to Dynasty Gold, came about after they left the region.
A Unified Countries report in 2022 found China had carried out “serious common liberties infringement” against Uyghurs, an ethnic Muslim minority populace living in the district of Xinjiang, that “may comprise global violations, specifically wrongdoings against mankind”. The allegations are made against Beijing.
Since establishing its complaint procedure in 2021, the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (Core) has not disclosed any such investigations.
The office affirms that Nike Canada Corp has supply associations with a few Chinese organizations that an Australian research organization distinguished as utilizing or profiting from Uyghur constrained work.
In 2020, the research organization, Australian Key Strategy Foundation (ASPI), distributed a report assessing that more than 80,000 Uyghurs had been moved to work in production lines across China.
The company has not “taken any concrete steps to ensure beyond a reasonable doubt that forced labor is not implicated in their supply chain,” according to the report.
Nike provided details about their due diligence procedures and asserts that they no longer have any ties to these businesses.
As per the report, Nike turned down gatherings with the ombudsman, however sent a letter saying “we are worried about reports of constrained work in, and associated with, the Xinjiang Uyghur Independent Locale (XUAR)”.
“We have confirmed with our contract suppliers that they are not using textiles or spun yarn from the region,” Nike stated. “Nike does not source products from the XUAR.”
According to the report, Dynasty Gold benefited from employing Uyghur forced labor at a China mine in which the gold mining company owns a majority stake.
The mining organization says it doesn’t have functional command over the mine and that these charges emerged after it left the locale.
The initial report, according to Dynasty CEO Ivy Chong, was “totally unfounded.”
The ethics watchdog has been given the responsibility of holding Canadian oil and gas, mining, and garment companies that operate outside of the country accountable for potential violations of human rights that occur as a result of their overseas operations, including supply chains.
“All over, the charges made by the complainants raise difficult issues in regards to the conceivable maltreatment of the globally perceived right to be liberated from constrained work,” Ombudsperson Sheri Meyerhoffer said in a duplicate of her underlying evaluation, made public Tuesday.
“It is our central goal to determine common freedoms protests in a fair and unprejudiced way to help those affected and to reinforce the mindful strategic policies of the organizations in question.”
The guard dog investigated grievances recorded by an alliance of 28 common society associations in June 2022.
In addition to the complaints against Nike and Dynasty Gold, the watchdog will soon publish reports on 11 additional complaints.
Who are the Uyghurs?
The Uyghurs are an ethnic minority group primarily residing in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China. They are predominantly Muslim and speak the Uyghur language, which belongs to the Turkic language family. The Uyghurs have a distinct culture, history, and traditions that differ from the Han Chinese majority.
The Uyghurs have a long history in the region, with some evidence suggesting their presence in Xinjiang for over 4,000 years. They were traditionally a semi-nomadic people involved in trade along the Silk Road and had cultural and economic ties with neighboring Central Asian societies.
However, in recent years, the Uyghur population has faced significant challenges and human rights concerns. There have been reports of widespread surveillance, arbitrary detention, forced labor, cultural suppression, and religious restrictions imposed on Uyghurs by the Chinese government. These actions have raised international alarm and led to accusations of human rights abuses and cultural genocide.
The Chinese government maintains that its actions in Xinjiang are necessary to counter terrorism, separatism, and religious extremism. However, the extent and severity of the reported human rights violations have drawn criticism from many countries, human rights organizations, and international bodies. The situation in Xinjiang remains a contentious and highly debated topic globally.