China ratifies international forced labor conventions | News | DW | 20.04.2022

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China ratifies international forced labor conventions

China will ratify two different conventions on forced labor amid Western pressure and criticism over Beijing's treatment of minorities in the Xinjiang region.

Farmers pick cotton during the harvest on October 21, 2019 in Shaya County, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China

China has faced international criticism over the use of forced labor in Xinjiang province

China has ratified two separated international conventions against forced labor, lawmakers announced on Wednesday.

The National People's Congress approved the ratification of the 1930 Forced Labor Convention of the International Labor Organization (ILO) , and the 1957 Abolition of Forced Labor Convention, according to an announcement from the top legislature. 

According to the ILO, nations that ratify the conventions must avoid using and must suppress any form of forced or compulsory labor. They should also work to secure the "immediate and complete abolition" of such labor.

The ratification of these conventions were one of the European Union's prerequisites to confirm a bilateral investment agreement signed at the end of 2020, which fell through due to human rights concerns.

The United States has blocked imports from China that are believed to have been the result of forced labor.

Criticism over Xinjiang forced labor

China has faced significant international criticism over the use of forced labor in Xinjiang province, as well as general human rights abuses in the region.

In its February report, the ILO heavily criticized China. The United Nations agency expressed "deep concern" over the treatment of minorities, and allegations that Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities were systematically being forced to work in agriculture.

More than 1 million Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim minorities are estimated to have been locked up in "reeducation camps." China claims they are education centers meant to stamp out Islamic extremism.

The United States and others say they are part of a system of genocide and crimes against humanity.

China is expecting a long-delayed visit from UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet in May, including a trip to Xinjiang.

aw/fb (AFP, LUSA)

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