Canada announces new measures to address human rights abuses in Xinjiang, China

News release

January 12 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade today announced measures related to the human rights situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.

Canada is gravely concerned with evidence and reports of human rights violations in the People’s Republic of China involving members of the Uyghur ethnic minority and other minorities within the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang), including repressive surveillance, mass arbitrary detention, torture and mistreatment, forced labour and mass transfers of forced labourers from Xinjiang to provinces across China. These activities strongly run counter to China’s international human rights obligations.

In coordination with the United Kingdom and other international partners, Canada is adopting a comprehensive approach to defending the rights of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities, including by advancing measures to address the risk of goods produced from forced labour from any country from entering Canadian and global supply chains and to protect Canadian businesses from becoming unknowingly complicit. 

Canada’s approach includes the following seven measures:

  • The Prohibition of imports of goods produced wholly or in part by forced labour;
  • A Xinjiang Integrity Declaration for Canadian companies;
  • A Business Advisory on Xinjiang-related entities;
  • Enhanced advice to Canadian businesses;
  • Export controls;
  • Increasing awareness for Responsible Business Conduct linked to Xinjiang; and
  • A Study on forced labour and supply chain risks

Today, the United Kingdom is making a parallel announcement of measures to help address the risk of forced labour entering the global supply chains and ensure that UK businesses are not complicit in forced labour in Xinjiang.

Canadian companies requiring assistance or advice should contact the Trade Commissioner Service in Ottawa, Regional Offices in Canada or Embassies, High Commissions or Consulates abroad.

Quotes

“Canada is deeply concerned regarding the mass arbitrary detention and mistreatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities by Chinese authorities. Nobody should face mistreatment on the basis of their religion or ethnicity. Together with the UK, we are taking action to ensure we are not complicit in the abuse of the Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang.”

- François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“Our government is committed to ensuring that Canadian businesses at home and abroad are not unknowingly involved  in any supply chains involving forced labour. We remain steadfast in our commitment to increasing supply chain transparency, promoting responsible business conduct, and ensuring that Canadian companies are upholding Canadian values, wherever they may operate”

- Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Quick facts

  • Canada’s merchandise export with China totalled $23 billion 2019 while Canada’s merchandise imports with China totalled $75 billion in 2019 

  • To strengthen Canada’s commitment to responsible business conduct, the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise was appointed in April 2019.

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Contacts

Syrine Khoury
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Syrine.Khoury@international.gc.ca

Youmy Han
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade
343-551-0246
Youmy.Han@international.gc.ca

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
343-203-7700
media@international.gc.ca
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