Investigations against Ralph Lauren for forced labor in China

Investigations against Ralph Lauren for forced labor in China

The Canadian Regulatory Authority for Responsible Business (Core) has opened an investigation into Ralph Lauren’s Canadian subsidiary for human rights violations. Like two other Western companies, the fashion company is accused of allegedly supporting or profiting from the performance of forced labor by Uighurs in China in its supply chains.

Core has decided “that the complaint against Ralph Lauren warrants an investigation,” said Sheri Meyerhoffer, the regulator’s ombudswoman, referring to a complaint filed jointly by 28 civil society organizations in June last year.

“Credible Clues”

The complaint calls for Ralph Lauren to sever ties with three Chinese companies suspected of using forced labor from the Uyghur Muslim minority in their supply chains. The US group said its Canadian subsidiary “is not responsible for decision-making” and that all operations would be overseen by the company’s headquarters.

The Ottawa-based human rights organization Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project welcomed the investigation. “There is credible evidence that Ralph Lauren has relationships with numerous Chinese companies that use forced Uyghur labor in their supply chains,” it said.

For years, China has been accused of systematically repressing the Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the north-western province of Xinjiang. More than a million people are being held in camps in the region, according to human rights organizations. Among other things, Beijing is accused of forced sterilization and forced labour.

Also investigations against Nike and Dynasty Gold

Core monitors and investigates human rights abuses primarily by Canadian clothing, mining, and oil and gas companies operating abroad. Last month, the agency launched similar investigations into Nike’s Canadian subsidiary and Canadian mining company Dynasty Gold.

The corporations are suspected of having profited from Uyghur forced laborers along their supply chains, Core had announced. Nike Canada is also said to have worked with Chinese companies that use forced labor from the Muslim minority.

According to the ombudsman, however, the sporting goods manufacturer now states that it no longer has any connections to the Chinese companies in question. Dynasty Gold also said it no longer had operational control over the affected mine, in which the company held a majority stake. The allegations only came up after they withdrew from the region.


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