Australia: Australia examines modern slavery laws amid concerns over products linked to Uyghur abuse

The Australian government has left the door open to toughening up the nation’s laws against modern slavery amid concerns about human rights abuses in China’s Xinjiang region.

Officials also revealed at a Senate hearing on Tuesday that the government was in regular discussions “with all China-facing businesses” and had used those conversations to highlight the risks of forced labour in supply chains from Xinjiang.

Uyghur community representatives told the same hearing Australia had been too slow to respond to “severe oppression” and “atrocities” in the region, possibly because the government was afraid of facing further trade sanctions from Beijing, which denies the accusations.

British MPs voted last week to declare that China was committing genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang, following the passage of similar motions in the Canadian and Dutch parliaments and in line with the US government’s position.

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