US law blocking Uyghur forced labour takes effect
Rights groups are calling for strong enforcement of a new law that has just gone into effect this week that bans the importation of goods made by Uyghur Muslims and other persecuted minorities in China to the United States.
The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), signed into law by US President Joe Biden in December of last year, prohibits the importation of any goods mined, produced or manufactured wholly or partially from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement on Tuesday on the occasion of the law going into effect, saying, "The State Department is committed to working with Congress and our interagency partners to continue combating forced labour in Xinjiang and strengthen international coordination against this egregious violation of human rights."
Robert McCaw, government affairs director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in public statement, "There must be vigorous enforcement of the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act in order to send the Chinese government the message that its ongoing genocide targeting Uyghur Muslims will not be ignored by our nation or the international community."
CAIR and other rights groups have been advocating for the boycott of goods from China, particularly those from the Xinjiang region. Last year, it was among dozens of organisations that launched a boycott of Hilton, following its construction plans for a hotel on the site of a destroyed mosque in the Xinjiang region.
For its part, the Uyghur Human Rights Project, is voicing cautious optimism on the law now going into effect.
"The fact that it is now clearly illegal for companies to import goods made with Uyghur forced labour into the United States is a huge win for our movement to end atrocities in East Turkistan," said Omer Kanat, UHRP Executive Director, in a public statement.
For nearly a decade, China has been holding ethnic Uyghurs and other ethnic Turkic minorities in state-sponsored internment camps. The population has reportedly been subjected to forced sterilisations and abortions, forced assimilation, and political indoctrination. Their treatment has been designed by the US, several other Western countries as well as international institutions as "genocide".