Hernandez Moya Sebastian
7 Sept 2021
Human rights defenders announced on Monday that they have filed a complaint in Germany against several companies, including C&A and Hugo Boss, which they accuse of profiting from the forced labor of the Uighur minority in China.
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a Berlin-based NGO, said it had “filed a complaint against several German companies” for “alleged complicity in crimes against humanity.”
Among the companies mentioned are the fashion brands Hugo Boss and C&A, and the chain stores Lidl, Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud. The association accuses these companies of “taking advantage of and being complicit, directly or indirectly, in forced labor by the Uighur minority in Xinjiang “(west).
Western nations accuse Beijing of massively imprisoning members of this predominantly Muslim and Turkish-speaking community in western China in mass labor camps.
However, the companies that are the subject of the complaint have supply factories in the region, which they have “declared publicly and voluntarily,” says Miriam Saage-Maass, Director of ECCHR.
Although the NGO says that it is difficult to obtain tangible evidence of the use of forced labor, “the question is to determine whether doing business is a way to help and encourage these crimes.” “We believe that these five cases are just one example of a much larger and more systematic problem,” the activist said.
In April, the anti-corruption association Sherpa also filed a similar complaint in France against four multinational clothing companies, including Uniqlo and Zara.
This led to the opening of an investigation at the end of June by the “Crimes against humanity” division of the antiterrorist body of the National Prosecutor’s Office (Pnat).
The United States claims that Beijing is carrying out a genocide against Uighurs and other Turkic peoples in Xinjiang, where experts estimate there are more than a million people detained.
Beijing denies the term genocide and describes the camps as vocational training centers, a claim rejected by Uighurs who say they are being forced to renounce their religious traditions.
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