The British High Court: "Not inspecting cotton products involving Uyghur forced labor is illegal!" The British High Court: "Not inspecting cotton products involving Uyghur forced labor is illegal!"

The British High Court: "Not inspecting cotton products involving Uyghur forced labor is illegal!"

The British High Court: "Not inspecting cotton products involving Uyghur forced labor is illegal!"

The UK's High Court of Appeal made a historic decision on June 27, declaring that the UK National Crime Agency's failure to investigate textile products involving Uyghur forced labor is illegal. Activists and lawyers say the decision by the UK High Court means that retail companies could face serious legal consequences if products they import into the UK involve forced labour.

The British-based "Global Legal Action Network" (GLAN) and the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) jointly submitted this petition to the British High Court, which was resubmitted in January 2023 after the London court rejected a similar petition. It turns out that this time, the High Court rejected the view of the British National Crime Agency that "after the crime-related product (according to the market price) is purchased at a reasonable price, the criminal nature of the product is eliminated, and in this case, the sale and purchase of such product will not be held responsible." The High Court ruled that the purchase of products linked to crime does not change its criminal nature, so it would be illegal for the UK Crime Agency not to investigate such products.

 Ms. Leanna Burnard, a lawyer in charge of the case of "Global Legal Action Network" (GLAN), said at a press conference on June 27 in London that the High Court's decision is of great significance. Lenna Barnard says:

 "Of course, we see this decision as an important step to challenge the injustice of the global capitalist system on a broad scale. The decision will have major consequences for UK companies importing and selling forced labor products. The court's ruling confirms that these companies can be prosecuted under criminal liability laws for active money laundering and trafficking in criminal products."

According to Lenna Barnard, the Supreme Court decision sends a clear signal that companies must clean up their supply chains or face penalties. Lenna Barnard says:

 "What this decision does not make clear is that companies must clean up their supply chains or risk being penalized and/or having their products confiscated as criminal property."

 Lenna Barnard emphasized that this is "the first successful case in the world related to Uyghur forced labor, to stop the supply chain of genocide against Uyghur and other Turkic peoples."

However, in a decision made in January 2023, the London Court of England, a lower level, supported the opinion of the British government and argued that there are standard evidentiary issues needed to investigate and prosecute products involving Uyghur forced labor. But this time the High Court has rejected this decision.

Rahima Mehmut, director of the London office of the World Uyghur Congress, said that the decision of the British High Court was "a historic event" for Uyghurs. However, when Rahima Mahmut received our interview on this matter on July 27, she said that the significance of the decision of the British High Court is not limited to the Uighur issue.

 It turns out that the British High Court said that this time, the buyer will be protected until he buys the criminal goods at a reasonable price, but he will be criminally liable as soon as the goods are taken over. This decision indicates that although property related to crime can be purchased, it cannot be confiscated. Attorney Lenna Barnard said at a press conference on June 27 that the Supreme Court's decision "changed the rules of the game" on the issue. Lenna Barnard says:

 "The National Crime Agency, which was successful in the lower court, argued in the high court that if the criminal product is purchased at a fair market price, it will be cleaned and no longer be a criminal product, and that such a product will circulate freely in the supply chain, and there is no need for anyone to be wary of it. But the Supreme Court clarified that if the buyer buys the cotton product produced by forced labor, he will be criminally liable as soon as he transfers the product.

It turns out that the British High Court has also agreed that there are "multiple, large and constantly increasing material facts" that massive human rights violations are taking place in the Uyghur Autonomous Region. According to the reports of foreign research institutes and human rights organizations, although the Chinese government denies the existence of forced labor, forced labor is increasing and unsystematized in the Uighur region, where there are about 380 prison camps. The World Uyghur Congress and the "Global Legal Action Network" filed a complaint with the UK High Court, stating that 85 percent of China's cotton products are produced in the Uyghur region and that forced labor is widespread in the region.

1 Comments

  1. It marks a historic victory for Uyghur rights.

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