Fashion industry case

Why was a legal action brought against Inditex, Uniqlo, SMCP and Skechers?

20% of the world’s cotton production originates from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in China. The Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities of this region have been the target of the Chinese government’s repressive policies, which, under the guise of poverty alleviation and the fight against terrorism, aim to impose a globalized social control.

In addition to the mass internment of Uyghurs for ideological ‘re-education’ purposes, the government created a vast system of forced labour. 1 in 5 cotton garments in the global apparel market are at risk of being tainted with Uyghur forced labour.

By allegedly selling products which were made using Uyghur forced labour at any level of the value chain, numerous multinationals could be profiting from crimes committed by the Chinese government against this minority. The NGOs Sherpa, Collectif éthique sur l’étiquette, the European Uyghur Institute and a Uyghur plaintiff filed a criminal complaint against several garment companies for concealment of forced labour and concealment of crimes against humanity.

Sherpa recalls that any person accused or prosecuted by a national or international jurisdiction is presumed innocent until found guilty by a final court decision. In this respect, an appealable decision does not constitute a final decision.