Groundbreaking ILO Update on State-Imposed Forced Labor

CFU PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 19, 2024, 5:00 PM

Contact: contact@campaignforuyghurs.org

+1 650-703-4523

www.campaignforuyghurs.org

 

WASHINGTON D.C. – Campaign for Uyghurs (CFU) commends the International Labour Organization (ILO) on its recent publication of the updated “Handbook on Forced Labor.” This revision, the most significant since the initiative began in 2001, is a pivotal advancement in addressing state-imposed forced labor, especially the severe conditions in the occupied East Turkistan and Tibet.

CFU views this welcome change in the ILO’s framework as a response to the longstanding advocacy efforts by human rights organizations and experts, notably Dr. Adrian Zenz, Senior Fellow and Director in China Studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Dr. Zenz’s rigorous research, notably his analysis in “Measuring Non-Internment State-Imposed Forced Labor in Xinjiang and Central Asia: An Assessment of ILO Measurement Guidelines,” has significantly improved the global understanding of non-internment state-imposed forced labor and the unique challenges of detecting and documenting such practices. CFU praises the ILO’s proactive engagement with civil society and academia to advance human rights.

The updated Handbook addresses gaps in the 2012 guidelines by adding a section on state-imposed forced labor, specifically addressing coercive labor transfers, which continue to affect Uyghur and Tibetan communities.  Importantly, the ILO acknowledges that politically-motivated strategies for demographic engineering, such as the ongoing policy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in East Turkistan to “end the dominance of the Uyghur ethnic group” and “break their roots,” should be taken as an indicator of state-imposed forced labor.

The Handbook reframes non-internment forced labor from isolated incidents to systemic risks, offering an academic foundation to support legislative changes that could reverse the burden of proof. This shift is crucial ahead of the European Union’s upcoming forced labor legislation, which will require companies, not just enforcement authorities, to verify the absence of forced labor in their supply chains.

Rushan Abbas, founder and executive director of CFU, expressed her thoughts on the update: “The ILO’s updates to the ‘Handbook on Forced Labor’ remind us of the power of relentless advocacy and rigorous research in combating injustice. These updates are more than textual revisions—they represent hope for countless Uyghurs and Tibetans facing oppressive labor practices engineered by the CCP. The global community must ensure these guidelines translate into systemic accountability to effectively address these atrocities.”

CFU urges all stakeholders, including governments, businesses, human rights compliance institutions, and practitioners to incorporate these insights into their new regulations, and dismantle the complex mechanisms of forced labor enforced by the CCP.

 

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Campaign for Uyhgurs

We defend the human rights of uyghur people and the free world by exposing and confronting the chinese government's genocide, and empowering uyghur women and youth in the diaspora.

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