San Francisco, May 11
Seven companies supplying device components, coatings and assembly services to Apple have been linked to alleged forced labour involving Uighurs and other oppressed minorities in China, The Information reported.
Working with two human rights groups, the publication identified seven Apple suppliers that allegedly supported forced labour programmes targeting the Muslim population, particularly Uighurs living in Xinjiang in China.
“At least five of those companies received thousands of Uighurs and other minority workers at specific factory sites or subsidiaries that did work for Apple,” the investigation found.
In a statement, Apple said it has “found no evidence of forced labour anywhere we operate”.
“We will continue doing all we can to protect workers and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect,” the company spokesperson was quoted as saying in the investigative report that came out on Monday.
Reports surfaced in March that Apple cut ties with another supplier over allegations it was connected to coercive government labour programmes in China.
China’s forced work programmes have been in news over the past year, with media reports detailing the country’s oppressive practices in Xinjiang.
In January, the US administration said that China was “committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang.” Earlier this month, The G7 Foreign Ministers criticised the persecution of the Uighur Muslim minority in Xinjiang and Beijing’s tough stance on Hong Kong.
In March, in a joint Trans-Atlantic operation, the US, Canada, Britain and the European Union imposed sanctions against Chinese officials they say are responsible for the human rights abuses against the Uighur people and Beijing retaliated with countersanctions.