FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 1, 2020
USCIRF Welcomes Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, and Homeland Security to issue a business advisory on the risks of supply chains that rely on the forced labor of Uyghur, Kazakh, and other Muslims in Xinjiang and elsewhere in China.
“This is an important step in our struggle against the modern slavery of Uyghur and other Muslims,” USCIRF Commissioner Nury Turkel stated. “With this business advisory, American companies can no longer claim ignorance of the gross human rights violations in their supply chains. We also call on the global business community, especially leading apparel brands and retailers, to ensure that they are not bolstering or benefitting from the Communist Party’s ongoing genocidal policies, religious repression, and forced labor in the Uyghur region.”
The business advisory recommended that companies with potential exposure to supply chains utilizing forced labor conduct due diligence. According to the Congressional-Executive Commission on China and other reports, dozens of companies, including major American brands, are suspected of directly employing or sourcing from suppliers that use forced labor involving thousands of Uyghur and other Muslims. In March 2020, a bipartisan coalition of Members of Congress introduced the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act in the House (H.R.6210) and in the Senate (S.3471). The bill would bar the importation into the United States of any goods made in Xinjiang. Under the Tariff Act of 1930, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has detained imports that originated in Xinjiang suspected to be made with forced labor.
“This latest step shows that the entire U.S. government is committed to taking action to protect the rights of Uyghur Muslims and other religious communities in Communist China,” noted USCIRF Commissioner Gary Bauer. “We urge Congress to pass the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to ensure that our markets never contain products made using slave labor.”
In its 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF called upon the administration to use its authority under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and the International Religious Freedom Act to impose targeted sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for severe religious freedom violations, especially Chen Quanguo, the current Communist Party Secretary of Xinjiang. In February 2020, USCIRF released a factsheet explaining how the Chinese government’s new Regulation for Religious Groups could further restrict religious freedom.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at email@example.com or Danielle Ashbahian at firstname.lastname@example.org.