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Wexton Amendment to Target Uyghur Forced Labor Included in NDAA

Washington, DC -- Today, Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) will vote yes on the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which includes an amendment authored by Wexton to ensure goods made in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) imported into the United States and sold in the military commissary and exchange systems are not made with forced labor.

"The forced labor of the Uyghur people is a gross abuse of human rights, and no American company should be complicit in this inhumanity,” said Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton. “I’m pleased that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognize this injustice and have supported my amendment to provide transparency and accountability to ensure that products sold on our military bases are not made using forced labor. U.S. companies doing businesses in the XUAR have both a legal and moral responsibility to help us shed light on the oppression of the Uyghurs."

Under Wexton’s amendment, the Secretary of Defense would issue rules requiring companies that import products or materials from the XUAR to audit their supply chains and ensure their goods are not manufactured using forced labor. The company would also have to make it known whether or not they intend to continue sourcing from the region if their supply chains are tainted by forced labor.

The systemic forced labor of the Uyghur people and other Muslim minority communities in the XUAR has fed into the supply chains of dozens of well-known global brands and products, ranging from clothing to electronics to personal protective equipment and medical facemasks. Importing products made wholly or in part from forced or prison labor is against U.S. law and international human rights standards.

Congresswoman Wexton introduced the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act in March, requiring U.S.-traded companies doing businesses in the XUAR to review and disclose information about their supply chains, including whether goods are sourced from internment camps or produced via forced labor and the revenue and profit attributable to those goods. Wexton also has repeatedly called for Global Magnitsky sanctions to be placed on members of the Chinese Communist Party responsible for the oppression of the Uyghur people.

Wexton has met directly with Uyghur constituents in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District and has heard firsthand stories of family members who have faced brutal persecution by the Chinese government.

The full text of the amendment can be found here.