Probe corporate profit from Uyghur forced labor

Canada has launched an inquiry into accusations over use of Uyghur forced labor by Western corporations Nike and Dynasty Gold. Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise Sheri Meyerhoffer announced the inquiry July 11 as part of a broader initiative to evaluate grievances against corporations operating within Canada. Both Nike and Dynasty Gold are believed to have derived advantages from the utilization of coerced labor involving Uyghurs in the People's Republic of China. While the initial evaluation stipulates that Nike has not engaged in the direct use of such labor, the company's association with Chinese third-party entities does not absolve it of accountability. Nike contends that it has terminated relationships with Chinese third-party companies implicated in employing coerced labor.

Vancouver-based Dynasty Gold faces allegations of directly employing coerced labor of Uyghurs at a mining site in China. The initial evaluation finds that the company's denial of operational control over the mine at Hatu, Xinjiang region, "should not be taken at its face value," as Dynasty still possess a controlling interest in the operation. 

Though Nike and Dynasty Gold were specifically mentioned in the announcement, the investigation extends beyond the two companies. Eleven other prominent corporations operating within Canada are also currently undergoing scrutiny.

The US State Department's Bureau of International Labor Affairs is among the bodies that have documented forced labor practices as a part of the Chinese government's "re-education" program targeting ethnic and religious minorities. Forced labor is strictly prohibited under international human rights norms and a range of international treaties. 

From Jurist, July 12. Used with permission.

See our last report on forced labor in the People's Republic of China.