Watchdog investigation claims Nike Canada, a gold firm, earnings from compelled Uyghur labour

Nabil Anas
Nabil Anas

International Courant

Canada’s company crime watchdog says it has sufficient to launch an investigation into allegations that Nike Canada and a Canadian gold mining firm are making the most of the compelled labor of Uyghurs in China.

Canadian Ombudsman for Company Accountability (CORE) Sheri Meyerhoffer made the announcement Tuesday in response to complaints filed together with her workplace by a coalition of 28 civil society organizations, together with the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Challenge.

The complainants alleged that Nike Canada Corp. has provide relationships with six Chinese language firms that use or profit from Uyghur compelled labor, based on the Australian Strategic Coverage Institute (ASPI).

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The assume tank launched a report in 2020 with an estimate of over 80,000 Uighurs had been transferred to factories throughout China. It stated some had been despatched straight from detention camps.

The coalition argued that there is no such thing as a indication that the favored clothes firm has taken concrete steps to make sure “past affordable doubt” that compelled labor is just not concerned in its provide chain.

In a separate criticism, the group alleges that the mining operations of Dynasty Gold Corp. in northwestern Xinjiang, China, use or profit from Uyghur compelled labour. The complainants level to a press release from the mine’s CEO in January 2021 that “many ethnicities, together with Uighurs, had been represented throughout all walks of life within the workforce.”

Meyerhoffer stated she reviewed the complaints and determined there was sufficient to dig deeper.

“At first look, the complainants’ allegations increase severe considerations concerning the potential abuse of the internationally acknowledged proper to be free from compelled labor,” Meyerhoffer stated in a duplicate of her preliminary evaluation, made public Tuesday.

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“I’ve determined to research these complaints to ascertain the information and suggest acceptable motion. I’ve not pre-empted the result of the investigations. We await the outcomes and can publish remaining stories with my suggestions. “

Nike Canada denies the allegations

The complainants allege that Nike Canada is the principle buyer of Qingdao Taekwang Sneakers Co. Ltd., a manufacturing facility reportedly using Uyghur staff who attend night lessons for “vocational coaching” and “patriotic schooling”.

It additionally stated the clothes firm has relationships with 5 different firms accused of utilizing Uyghur compelled labour:

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Haoyuanpeng Clothes Manufacturing Co. Ltd., Esquel Textile Co. Ltd., Qingdao Jifa Group, Huafu Trend Co. Ltd., Texhong Textile Group.

Meyerhoffer’s workplace stated it had made a number of unsuccessful makes an attempt to contact Nike Canada Corp. as of summer time 2022.

Earlier this yr, Nike Inc., the father or mother firm, rejected the ombudsman’s request for a gathering, however despatched a press release saying it’s “dedicated to moral and accountable manufacturing and that we uphold worldwide labor requirements,” the report stated. of the ombudsman.

“We’re involved about stories of compelled labor in and related to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Area (XUAR). Nike doesn’t buy merchandise from the XUAR and we have now confirmed with our contract suppliers that they don’t use any textiles or spun yarn from the area,” stated a duplicate of Nike’s assertion.

The Nike emblem is displayed at a Nike retailer in South Miami on Sept. 20, 2011. (The Related Press)

Meyerhoffer stated there’s a battle between what Nike says and what an Australian Strategic Coverage Institute report stated concerning the factories within the area.

For instance, she stated there’s a contradiction concerning Nike’s declare that Qingdao Taekwang Sneakers Co. Ltd. stopped hiring new staff from Xinjiang after human rights abuses had been reported by the ASPI in 2019.

CORE stated it is going to proceed to research Nike’s allegations by unbiased fact-finding, however added that mediation is out there at any stage of the complaints course of.

“Given the high-risk context, there’s a want for elevated human rights due diligence to determine, stop and mitigate the human rights-related dangers of Nike’s operations,” the primary evaluation report stated.

“On this regard, Nike Canada Corp. has not supplied a passable response or decision to the allegations within the criticism, nor has it sufficiently demonstrated that it conducts human rights due diligence.”

Mining firm ‘intentionally averted’ participation: ombudsman

Meyerhoffer fared worse as he tried to get Dynasty to reply regardless of a number of makes an attempt

“DYG (Dynasty Gold Corp.) has solely commented on the draft of the preliminary evaluation report. Earlier than that, DYG seems to have intentionally averted taking part in and cooperating with the CORE dispute decision course of with out offering any clarification,” it stated. report.

The mining firm finally despatched a remark denying it has operational management over the Hatu mine. Meyerhoffer stated that will not be true.

“DYG’s declare that it ceased its mineral exploration actions in Xinjiang in 2008 doesn’t look like supported by the January 25, 2021 and April 13, 2022 press releases,” the report stated.

“Even when DYG has no operational management, DYG remains to be chargeable for making certain that no compelled labor is current on the Hatu mine, which it owns 70 p.c.”

In a press release to CBC Information, Dynasty CEO Ivy Chong referred to as the preliminary evaluation “completely baseless.”

“Like many Western firms, the wages we paid to native staff had been nearly double the native wages. We gave them on-the-job coaching, equivalent to the right way to use mining software program, and so on. Everybody was glad to work for us, Chong stated.

“We don’t perceive on what proof and on what foundation CORE is conducting its investigation into Dynasty Gold Corp.”

The coalition filed 13 admissible complaints with the CORE workplace, Meyerhoffer stated Tuesday. Her assessments of the remaining 11 will likely be made public within the coming weeks.

“It’s our mission to resolve human rights complaints in a good and unbiased method to assist these affected and to strengthen the accountable enterprise practices of the businesses concerned,” she stated.

Watchdog investigation claims Nike Canada, a gold firm, earnings from compelled Uyghur labour

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