Issue Briefs

ERLC supports Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

August 12, 2020

The ERLC affirms that all people are created in God’s image and have innate dignity and worth, and deserve to be treated with respect. The right to believe, practice, and live according to one’s own religious faith is a God-given, fundamental human right. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states in Article 2 that “everyone is entitled to the freedom of religion and belief without distinction of any kind, including race, language, religion, or national or social origin.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) routinely violates the basic human rights of the Uyghur people. Since 2017, China has systematically detained more than one million Uyghur Muslims and placed them into what it describes as “re-education camps”. In these internment camps, better described as modern-day concentration camps, Uyghurs are prevented from engaging in their religious practices and face physical and physiological harassment.

The CCP systematically subjects Uyghurs to forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) and throughout China. The Uyghur people are forced to produce goods that are then sold around the world, including in the United States, and the CCP is financially profiting from this reprehensible practice. Currently, any brand sourcing apparel, textiles, yarn or cotton from XUAR is almost certainly profiting from forced Uyghur labor. Brands and retailers have a moral duty to ensure they are not supporting or benefiting from forced labor. This despicable practice is a clear violation of human rights, and the United States must hold China accountable for these atrocities. 

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act prohibits goods made with forced labor in the  XUAR or by entities using Uyghur labor forcibly transferred from the XUAR from entering the U.S. market. This legislation also instructs the U.S. government to impose sanctions against any foreign person who knowingly engages in the forced labor of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in the XUAR.

The United States must send a strong message to the CCP that products made through forced labor will not be accepted because these egregious inhumane practices will not be tolerated. It is unconscionable for a free country like the United States to ultimately be accomplices in this Communist Party’s plan to profit from slave labor. In holding the CCP accountable for the horrors that occur on a daily basis in the labor camps of Xinjiang, the United States has the opportunity to send a clear message that total disregard for human life will not be tolerated. 

The ERLC supports the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to send the message to the CCP that these abuses cannot continue, and urges Congress to pass this legislation.

Issue Brief U.S. Chamber of Commerce Letter