December 2022 NewsLetter Newsletter

Government Sued by World Uyghur Congress and the Global Legal Action Network

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and the Global Legal Action Network have brought a case on behalf of a former detainee and forced labour survivor against the Home Secretary, HM Revenue and Customs and the National Crime Agency claiming that their failure or refusal to investigate imports from the Uyghur Region is unlawful. The WUC argued that 85 per cent of China’s cotton is grown in the Uyghur Region which means that many of the UK’s clothing items imported from China must originate there. The Modern Slavery Act requires companies to disclose any abuses in their supply chain but there is no penalty for not conducting audits or other due diligence. In their legal action, the WUC argued that there were reasonable grounds to suspect breaches of the criminal and civil law under the Foreign Prison-Made Goods Act 1897 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. They also said that they had submitted almost 1,000 pages of evidence, including company records, NGO investigations and Chinese government documents to the government and that it had taken no actions, demonstrating, the WUC argued, ‘the lack of political will’. The case continues.