Início Fashion NCA refusal to probe ‘slave labour’ cotton imports unlawful: UK court

NCA refusal to probe ‘slave labour’ cotton imports unlawful: UK court


A London court of appeal recently ruled that the refusal of the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) to investigate imports of cotton allegedly produced by slave labour in the Chinese region of Xinjiang was unlawful, and British authorities must reconsider their decision.

The World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) had taken legal action against NCA after it declined to start a criminal investigation into the allegations of whether cotton from Xinjiang amounts to ‘criminal property’.

A London court of appeal recently ruled that the refusal of the UK National Crime Agency to probe imports of cotton allegedly produced by slave labour in the Chinese region of Xinjiang was unlawful, and British authorities must reconsider their decision.
The World Uyghur Congress and the Global Legal Action Network had taken legal action against NCA.

A judge at London’s High Court had ruled last year that there was “clear and undisputed evidence of instances of cotton being manufactured … by the use of detained and prison labour as well as by forced labour”.

But the legal challenge was dismissed on the grounds that the British authorities’ approach to the law was correct.

The court of appeal overturned that decision, ruling that “the question of whether to carry out an investigation … will be remitted to the NCA for reconsideration”.

The court of appeal rejected the NCA’s argument that once ‘adequate consideration’ (i.e. market value) is paid for criminal property, the property is cleansed of its criminal character and is free to be bought and sold without consequence.

Instead, the court determined that while a purchaser is protected when they pay adequate consideration for criminal property, as soon as they transfer that property they are exposed to criminal liability. This means criminal property can be bought, but not passed on.

The court of appeal further determined that the NCA had made an error of law in stating that a specific consignment of forced labour cotton needed to be identified in order to commence an investigation, according to a press release issued by GLAN and WUC.

Rahima Mahmut, WUC UK director, described the ruling as “a monumental victory and a moral triumph”.

“This win represents a measure of justice for those Uyghurs and other Turkic people who have been tortured and subjected to slave labour there,” Mahmut said in the press release.

“This case will set a real precedent for upcoming similar cases regarding the import of Uyghur forced labour goods, in the UK or elsewhere….This is the very first successful step towards accountability for Uyghurs. We hope that moving forward UK-based companies will take adequate caution not trading or importing Uyghur forced labour goods, and that the government will also conduct investigations diligently,” WUC president Dolkun Isa, said.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)




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