Uighur women gather outside the Chinese consulate in Istanbul to denounce the alleged rights violations of Uighurs in Xinjiang (Ozan Kose/AFP)

Canadian solar promises an independent investigation of whether any workers in its supply chain are there against their will.

A subsidiary of a major supplier of the Guelph, Ontario-based company was sanctioned by the U.S. government over allegations of forced labour.

The company, GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., has a network of companies in China that has employed people from a Chinese government program to transfer people, many of them Uyghurs, to industrial workplaces.

The Chinese authorities’ treatment of the largely Muslim Uyghur community has been called genocide by Canada’s Parliament.

Human rights groups believe China has detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will over the past few years in a large network of what the state calls re-education camps, and sentenced hundreds of thousands to prison terms.

Canadian Solar is now making this new move after reportedly telling a shareholder activist firm it was impossible to do such an assessment and criticizing those raising forced labour concerns.

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