WASHINGTON — September 22, 2020 — What we are witnessing in XUAR is of great concern to our entire industry. Forced labor in any form is intolerable, as is repression of ethnic minorities, wherever it takes place. The situation in this region is of a scale, scope, and complexity that is unprecedented in modern supply chains. Our country and world must unite to end these practices.
We share the goals of the legislation — to end forced labor and the larger campaign of oppression it is fueling — yet we fear this bill will not help us get closer to that end goal. Instead, the legislation would establish a “guilty until proven innocent” blanket standard, directly contradicting U.S. jurisprudence and due process, branding anything and everything associated with XUAR as made with forced labor. Such an approach would do further harm to human rights, economic development, legitimate supply chains, and will jeopardize the livelihoods of millions of workers worldwide without specifically addressing human rights concerns.
A successful solution for all involved, above all for the workers themselves, will require state-to-state engagement and collaborative partnerships. The U.S. Government must take a leadership role in an effort that combines industry, NGOs, unions, Congress, the U.S. government, and other governments. That effort must develop and implement a comprehensive and holistic strategy that most effectively advances us to our mutual end goal — to end forced labor practices and the larger campaign they fuel. We stand ready to work with all stakeholders to find an enforceable solution that effectively protects human rights.
Posted September 23, 2020
Source: The National Retail Federation (NRF)