Companies complicit in Uighur abuses should be boycotted, Maajid Nawaz suggests

27 March 2021, 15:41

By Seán Hickey

The public should consider divesting from companies profiting from the exploitation of Uighur people in China, Maajid Nawaz suggests.

Following the Chinese government's decision to sanction UK MPs for their speaking out against the human rights abuses committed against the Uighur Muslims, Maajid Nawaz pondered on where the conversation can go from here.

He pointed out that now there is greater awareness of the atrocities, people can push for greater action from nations and companies on the topic.

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Maajid revealed that "20% of the world's cotton comes from the Uighur autonomous region," and now that we know that slave labour is at the heart of this operation, "we have a moral obligation not to be complicit."

He shed light on some examples of firms supporting such abuse by not addressing human rights concerns in their supply chains.

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"Fashion firms not only are complicit but they've doubled down on their justification of why they're not divesting from that 20% of the world's cotton that comes from the Uighur region."

Maajid called on the public to consider how they could make a change, particularly by making personal choices to divest from companies who are complicit in the plight of the Uighurs.

"When we say 'are we doing enough?' one of the things we have to consider as consumers, is does this matter enough to us to divest from those fashion companies that have a role in the slave labour going on in the Uighur region."

He wondered whether "we want any role, any complicity," in the unethical practices of companies, and if we don't, we must take personal action.

"It's for us to decide whether we want any hand, any role in consuming products whether fashion or movies that are made in the region where people are being genocided."