In August 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed a report via the Business & Human Rights website, first published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in February 2020, entitled “Uyghurs for sale ‘Re-education’, forced labour and surveillance beyond Xinjiang”.
The findings of the report were summarized as follows: “The Chinese government has facilitated the mass transfer of Uyghur and other ethnic minority citizens from the far west region of Xinjiang to factories across the country. Under conditions that strongly suggest forced labour, Uyghurs are working in factories that are in the supply chains of at least 83 well-known global brands in the technology, clothing and automotive sectors, including Apple, BMW, Gap, Huawei, Nike, Samsung, Sony and Volkswagen.
In all, ASPI’s research has identified 83 foreign and Chinese companies directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uyghur workers outside Xinjiang through potentially abusive labour transfer programs as recently as 2019”. Apple was listed as one of these companies.
Business & Human Rights had contacted all of the companies named in the report and published their responses. Apple commented on the report stating that it was ‘dedicated to ensuring that everyone in our supply chain is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve’.
As the company had not been able to refute the claims made or give full details of action to remedy the situation, the company lost half a mark under Human Rights.
Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) report: Uyghurs for sale (3 December 2020)