France investigates fashion brands over Uyghur forced labour

Prosecutors in France have begun an investigation into four fashion retailers suspected of hiding “crimes against humanity” in China, according to a report by Reuters.

The probe is tied to accusations against China over its treatment of the Uyghur population, including allegations of forced labour in the Xinjiang region.
The Uyghurs are a mostly Muslim minority ethnic group of around 12 million people.

A judicial source told the news agency that France was investigating Uniqlo France (a unit of Japan’s Fast Retailing), Zara owner Inditex, Skechers, and France’s SMCP.

"An investigation has been opened by the crimes against humanity unit within the antiterrorism prosecutor's office following the filing of a complaint," the source told Reuters.

In a statement Inditex denied the claims made in the legal compliant and said that it had undertaken thorough traceability controls.

"At Inditex, we have zero tolerance for all forms of forced labour and have established policies and procedures to ensure this practice does not take place in our supply chain," it said.

Fast Retailing said it had not been contacted by French authorities and claimed none of its production partners are located in Xinjiang.

"If and when notified, we will cooperate fully with the investigation to reaffirm there is no forced labour in our supply chains," the company said in a statement.

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