Xinjiang: Forced Labour

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:50 pm on 12th January 2021.

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Photo of Dominic Raab Dominic Raab The Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs 12:50 pm, 12th January 2021

I thank my hon. Friend for his support for the measures we are taking. He is right about them. I share his concern in relation to Xinjiang and also, specifically, torture. Torture is an international crime, and anyone who engages in it, directs it or even takes an order in relation to it will be guilty under international law. The real challenge with China, as we know, is how to get remedy—redress—for these actions. The measures that we have announced today will prevent any profiting from forced labour, or indeed torture, and also prevent any UK businesses from financially, whether inadvertently or otherwise, supporting it.

If we want more significant accountability, the answer is to get an authoritative third-party body that is to review such matters—as, with the greatest respect to my right hon. Friend Sir Iain Duncan Smith, we have managed to secure in relation to World Health Organisation access to China this week. We have to keep pressing, with our international partners. That is why the group of international partners that is assembled is very important. It must be as broad as possible in order to secure access for the UN Human Rights Commissioner.