With its “Uyghur Directive”, Brussels is hitting hard against forced labour
Noëlle Lenoir, former Minister and former member of the Constitutional Council, is a lawyer. She is reacting to the idea of a new European guideline on forced labour. A hot topic due to issues such as how to treat Uyghurs or the construction workers who built the stadiums for the next World Cup in Qatar.
Challenges: On September 14, the European Commission presented a proposal for a directive to ban the placing on the European market of products originating from forced labor. Why is?
Noelle Lenoir: This is another piece of CSR legislation. For about ten years, the European Commission has multiplied initiatives on this subject. Human rights are increasingly being added to the requirements of environmental protection. Companies must ensure compliance not only internally, ie at the level of the group and its subsidiaries, but also throughout their business partners, especially their suppliers and subcontractors. The European company is now entrusted with a mission of general, general interest.
Specifically the The September 14 proposal bans the movement, import and export of all products – agricultural or industrial – derived from forced labour. The Commission gives the number of 27.6 million forced laborers. Modern slavery, which particularly affects women and children, is indeed a scourge and a shame. However, it is not always easy for a company to identify the origin of the manufactured products it imports from around the world.
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