Report warns of forced Uyghur labor in solar panel supply chain | Business and economic news

Beijing’s Uyghur labor programs “amount to a forcible transfer of populations and enslavement,” the report said.

A new report warns against China’s use of forced Uyghur labor in the global solar panel manufacturing supply chain.

The UK’s Sheffield Hallam University study indicated that Chinese “labor transfers” to the northwestern region of Xinjian, where human rights groups claim the Uyghurs of the Muslim minority were victims. persecution and internment, is deployed in “an environment of unprecedented coercion, underpinned by the constant threat of re-education and internment”.

The report adds that 45% of the world’s manufacturers of polysilicon – a primary material used in 95% of solar modules – are based in Xinjian, where most Uyghurs live.

The investigation “determined that many of the major Chinese producers of raw materials, solar grade polycrystalline silicon, ingots and wafers integral to solar module manufacturing are operating facilities in the region that have used forced labor transfers from the indigenous populations of the region, and that many of these manufacturers maintain advantageous relations with the production and construction body of Xinjiang ”.

“The adoption of forced labor by these manufacturers has a significant impact on downstream producers of solar modules and on the governments, developers and consumers who purchase them,” the report says.

‘Risk of exposure’

Demand for solar panels has increased as countries increasingly commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Researchers have identified 90 Chinese and international companies whose supply chains are somehow linked to forced labor.

They called on solar panel manufacturers to assess their supply chains and source elsewhere, saying the examples presented in the report “are intended to provide stakeholders with evidence on which to assess the risk of exposure. forced labor in the solar supply chain ”. .

International pressure increased for Beijing to allow access to Xinjiang, with Germany, UK and US holding a virtual UN meeting on Thursday condemn documented rights violations. China has repeatedly denied these claims.

Amnesty International’s secretary general, Agnes Callamard, told the event that around one million Uyghurs and predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities were being arbitrarily detained in the region.

The United States has said President Joe Biden will urge allies to increase the pressure on Beijing over alleged forced labor at its first leaders’ meeting in June.

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