Thursday, 7 July, 2022

China ratifies international forced labour conventions

China ratifies international forced labour conventions

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China's lawmakers on Wednesday announced that it ratified two international conventions against forced labour, months after United Nations experts voiced concerns over the country's treatment of ethnic and religious minorities -- particularly in the Xinjiang region.

Beijing's approvals come as the country faces accusations of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang, including forced labour.

Rights groups estimate at least one million Uyghurs have been incarcerated in "re-education camps" there -- allegations that Beijing roundly rejects.

Officials maintain the camps are vocational training centres aimed at reducing the appeal of Islamic extremism.

On Wednesday, China's top legislature approved the ratification of the International Labour Organization's Forced Labour Convention, as well as the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, according to an official announcement.

Labour rights have been a fraught issue in China, with a committee of 20 experts appointed by the ILO taking China to task in its annual report published in February.

The group expressed "deep concern" after assessing the treatment of minorities, and evaluated allegations in late 2020 that Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities were systematically being used for forced labour in agriculture.