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We're calling for Ireland to end the import of forced-labour cotton

If you live in Ireland, it is possible that your clothes have been made from forced-labour cotton. 

85% of China's cotton comes from the Uyghur Region. A staggering 30% of the world's cotton comes from China.


In September 2022, the UN has added its voice to the deep concern that there are crimes against humanity and forced labour occurring in in the Uyghur Region.

The overwhelming evidence is clear: Ireland's entire main street trade in cotton is likely tainted by the Uyghur forced labour camps.


We are fighting for a complete ban of the import of forced-labour cotton into Ireland.  

Map of Suspected Detention Facilities.png

This map shows the possible locations of Uyghur detention centres.

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On 20th October 2023, along with our partners World Uyghur Congress, we submitted our views to the Irish Government in response to their public consultation on the EU Commission’s proposal for a regulation prohibiting products made with forced labour on the Union market (the “Proposed Regulation”).

Our submission was endorsed by Anti-Slavery International based in the UK and The Human Trafficking Legal Center based in the US. Our submission details crucial amendments that are required to the Proposed Regulation to ensure that it will effectively address state-imposed forced labour. Our view is that, as currently drafted, the Proposed Regulation fails to do so.  We are particularly concerned with goods comprising and containing cotton, textiles and apparel produced in the East Turkistan region of China (better known to the international community by the name Xinjiang or the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (“Xinjiang"/”XUAR”)).

Our submission thus focuses on XUAR-related issues given the seriousness of the well-documented human rights abuses amounting to crimes against humanity and genocide being committed there and the fact that it is equally well-acknowledged that state-imposed, region-wide forced labour is a core component of these abuses, particularly throughout the cotton industry. Our concern is all the more urgent, given that imports into the EU from XUAR are increasing.


Read the full submission.

On the 7th October 2022, we wrote to the Irish Revenue Commissioners calling for a ban to the importation of cotton goods from China’s Uyghur region.

In the letter to the Revenue Commissioners, we outlined the crimes against humanity taking place in the region and the irrefutable connection between Uyghur forced labour and Europe’s fashion industry.

EU law explicitly recognises the prohibition of slavery, servitude, and forced or compulsory labour, as a fundamental human right. International law prohibits the importation of goods produced under these circumstances. We argue that Ireland is obliged to apply its laws governing imports in a manner that respects that prohibition.

We await a response from the Irish Revenue Commissioners. As the Irish laws on imports implement EU law, we are prepared to continue the fight in the European courts if necessary.


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