Urmas Paet, MEPs seeking measures against China

MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/Renew).
MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/Renew). Source: Anna Aurelia Minev/ERR

Members of the European Parliament are calling for measures to prevent products from China's Uighur detention camps from reaching the European Union market.

MEPs, including Estonian MEP Urmas Paet (Reform), sent a letter to European Commissioner Phil Hogan demanding products from the Xinjiang region of China, made at the cost of violating the human rights of the Uighurs, not enter the European Union market.

"Recently, it was reported to the public that US border guards had confiscated 13 tons of hair extensions and other hair products originally from Chinese Uighur detention camps and packaged with the use of forced and child labor," Urmas Paet said.

"Many countries have long called on China to stop persecuting the Uighurs and sending them to detention camps, but to no avail. These calls are of little consequence to China and Uighurs are also being used for profit," he added.

"The European Union is a major player in international trade, but we also stand up for the protection of human rights in the world," Paet said.

In the letter to Commissioner Hogan, MEPs call on the EU to impose a pre-emptive ban on a company whose hair extensions have been confiscated in the US and to scrutinize Chinese companies in Xinjiang whose products enter the EU's single market to identify possible human rights violations.

MEPs also want the European Union to raise the issue of the treatment of Uighurs with the Chinese trade authorities and to extend the due diligence rules to all companies operating in the EU.

The Xinjiang region is located in western and northwestern China and is home to more than 10 million Uighurs. Chinese authorities have sent more than a million Uighurs to forced labor camps.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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