Uyghur rights protest on steps

Investor Actions on the Human Rights Crisis in the Uyghur Region

Corporate Engagement

The Investor Alliance coordinates a focused engagement by investors with their portfolio companies that have value chains that are connected to the Uyghur human rights crisis. This extends to state-sponsored forced labor and state repression, as well as mass surveillance of the peoples in the Uyghur Region. The engagement consists of:  

  • 68+ institutional investors
  • Over US$6 trillion in assets under management
  • 74 companies engaged
  • 9 sectors, including apparel & footwear, technology, food & agriculture, renewable energy including the solar sector, automotive including EV batteries

Investor Impact 

In conjunction with civil society and government action, investors call for supply chain tracing and disengagement from offending value chain relationships connected to the Uyghur Region. This has resulted in companies decreasing their dependency on sourcing from the Uyghur Region, exiting the Uyghur region, and moving to suppliers in other countries.  Investors also advocate with policy makers for robust forced labor legislation and trade bans.

Investors continue to file shareholder resolutions asking company boards to address forced labor risks, including state-imposed forced labor in the Uyghur Region.  

Collaboration with Civil Society

The Investor Alliance is a member of, and participates in the Steering Committee of the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labour, which unites civil society organizations, Uyghur human rights groups, and trade unions who are taking action to end state-sponsored forced labor and other egregious human rights violations against people from the Uyghur Region. The Coalition's initial 2020 Call to Action to disengage from business relationships in the Uyghur Region, was effectively codified in the U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). The Coalition's updated Call to Action (June 2022), requiring companies across all sectors to apply a single global standard consistent with the requirements of the UFLPA across their entire supply chain for all retail markets.

The Investor Alliance also brings civil society organizations, academics, and experts to collaborate with investors on current and updated findings related human rights violation in the Uyghur Region. For example, the Investor Alliance has partnered with Dr. Laura Murphy from the Sheffield Hallam University (SHU), who remains at the forefront of Uyghur Forced Labor research, publishing evidence briefs and reports across a number of sectors, including the automotive and solar sector. The Investor Alliance utilizes these reports to enable and support evidence-based and research-driven investor engagement and leverage.  In 2024, the Investor Alliance partnered with Anti-Slavery International and SHU to publish a series of reports on addressing Uyghur forced labor risks in renewable energy.

Outreach to Policymakers

The U.S. Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA), which went into effect on June 21, 2022, was supported by advocacy efforts from various stakeholders, including a joint effort with the Investor Alliance in 2020 with ICCR and CSO partners to establish a withhold release order under the 1307 petition

The UFLPA establishes a rebuttable presumption that any goods, wares, articles, and merchandise mined, produced, or manufactured wholly, or in part, in the Uyghur Region, is implicated with state-sponsored forced labor, thus prohibited under the Tariff Act of 1930 from entry into the United States.  

Find more information on the implementation of the UFLPA.

The Investor Alliance continues to support global policy efforts through: 

  • 2023 investor statement in support of EU forced labor regulations urging for the European Commission’s legislative proposal to prohibit products made with forced labor from entering the European Union (EU) market;

  • 2022 joint submission with Anti-Slavery International, Uyghur Human Rights Project, and World Uyghur Congress to the UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery on systematic state-imposed forced labor targeting the Uyghur population and other Turkic and Muslim-majority peoples on the basis of their religion and ethnicity; 

  • 2021 submissions to the U.K. Parliamentary Committee to ban the import of products made with Uyghur forced labor; and

  • support and endorsement of the Coalition to End Uyghur Forced Labor’s statement calling on the International Olympic Committee to announce a substantial human rights due diligence plan ahead of the Beijing 2022 Olympics.

On August 31, 2022, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued an assessment of human rights concerns in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region and found that China’s treatment of Turkic Muslims in the remote region of Xinjiang “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” This report followed calls from civil society and human rights experts, including from the Investor Alliance, for a UN-led independent investigation to report, monitor, and document the situation in the Uyghur Region. 

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