UK to Ban Modern Slavery Goods and Services From National Health Service

The UK is set to pass a new law targeting modern slavery in NHS supply chains such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) made from cotton sourced in China’s Xinjiang region.Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Friday that he wants the landmark amendment to be “a turning point in the UK’s mission to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in supply chains around the globe.” “As the biggest public procurer in the country, the NHS is well placed to spearhead this work,” Javid said. The amendment said the health secretary must make regulations “with a view to eradicating the use in the health service in England of goods or services that are tainted by slavery and human trafficking.” The regulations may include the process to be followed by public bodies in excluding a supplier from consideration for the award of a contract, the steps public bodies must take to assess and address the risk of slavery and human trafficking, and requirements regarding procurement contracts for the health service in England, the amendment said. The amendment is subject to a vote in the House of Commons on Monday, but it’s expected to be a formality. It was proposed in lieu of an amendment from the House of Lords that mandates government ministers to assess if there is “a serious risk of genocide in the sourcing region” of goods and services procured for NHS England. The government previously said it would address the issue in an upcoming Bill that “will cover all government procurement,” but proposed the amendment on Thursday following cross-party pressure. Speaking in the House of Lords on April 5, former Conservative chief whip David Maclean, Lord Blencathra, who proposed the original amendment, said the government would “always have a better Bill coming along in the future,” but “the right time is right now and the right legislation is this Bill.” Lord Blencathra said the government had procured “billions of pounds’ worth of medical equipment sourced in whole or in part from Xinjiang” in recent years “despite widespread reports of forced labour in that region.” On Friday, Conservative Party MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has been pushing for the Lord’s amendment in the House of Commons, said he welcomes Javid’s “significant move.” A founder and Co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), Duncan Smith said IPAC members had “campaigned hard for such a change,” and “it’s good to know this will now happen.” He also urged all government departments to “do the same and quickly.” “We will be sending the most powerful signal to those around the world who exploit and terrorise those weaker than themselves; the swords of justice are on their trail,” he wrote on Twitter. Another lead campaigner on the issue, CEO of anti-slavery charity Arise Luke de Pulford praised Javid and his department for being “way out front on human rights.” “This is, by some distance, the biggest advance in modern slavery legislation since the Modern Slavery Act 2015. In fact, it’s much more significant in that it raises the bar massively for government procurement,” de Pulford told the Politico. Speaking to the same publication, Rahima Mahmut, UK director of the World Uyghur Congress, said “it means so much to my people” that people in other countries are standing up to the Chinese regime. “For too long the UK has pretended that it’s possible to increase trade with China while denouncing their human rights atrocities. I hope this is the beginning of the end for China’s trade impunity, and wish to thank Sajid Javid personally, who I met the other night, and who I believed when he told me he would do ‘all he could’ for the Uyghur people,” Mahmut said. The passing of the modern slavery amendment will mark another major win of parliamentarians advocating for human rights in China. On March 30, an amendment to the same bill was passed with the aim to stop British people from participating in forced organ harvesting in China. Follow Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.

UK to Ban Modern Slavery Goods and Services From National Health Service

The UK is set to pass a new law targeting modern slavery in NHS supply chains such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) made from cotton sourced in China’s Xinjiang region.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Friday that he wants the landmark amendment to be “a turning point in the UK’s mission to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in supply chains around the globe.”

“As the biggest public procurer in the country, the NHS is well placed to spearhead this work,” Javid said.

The amendment said the health secretary must make regulations “with a view to eradicating the use in the health service in England of goods or services that are tainted by slavery and human trafficking.”

The regulations may include the process to be followed by public bodies in excluding a supplier from consideration for the award of a contract, the steps public bodies must take to assess and address the risk of slavery and human trafficking, and requirements regarding procurement contracts for the health service in England, the amendment said.

The amendment is subject to a vote in the House of Commons on Monday, but it’s expected to be a formality.

It was proposed in lieu of an amendment from the House of Lords that mandates government ministers to assess if there is “a serious risk of genocide in the sourcing region” of goods and services procured for NHS England.

The government previously said it would address the issue in an upcoming Bill that “will cover all government procurement,” but proposed the amendment on Thursday following cross-party pressure.

Speaking in the House of Lords on April 5, former Conservative chief whip David Maclean, Lord Blencathra, who proposed the original amendment, said the government would “always have a better Bill coming along in the future,” but “the right time is right now and the right legislation is this Bill.”

Lord Blencathra said the government had procured “billions of pounds’ worth of medical equipment sourced in whole or in part from Xinjiang” in recent years “despite widespread reports of forced labour in that region.”

On Friday, Conservative Party MP Sir Iain Duncan Smith, who has been pushing for the Lord’s amendment in the House of Commons, said he welcomes Javid’s “significant move.”

A founder and Co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), Duncan Smith said IPAC members had “campaigned hard for such a change,” and “it’s good to know this will now happen.”

He also urged all government departments to “do the same and quickly.”

“We will be sending the most powerful signal to those around the world who exploit and terrorise those weaker than themselves; the swords of justice are on their trail,” he wrote on Twitter.

Another lead campaigner on the issue, CEO of anti-slavery charity Arise Luke de Pulford praised Javid and his department for being “way out front on human rights.”

“This is, by some distance, the biggest advance in modern slavery legislation since the Modern Slavery Act 2015. In fact, it’s much more significant in that it raises the bar massively for government procurement,” de Pulford told the Politico.

Speaking to the same publication, Rahima Mahmut, UK director of the World Uyghur Congress, said “it means so much to my people” that people in other countries are standing up to the Chinese regime.

“For too long the UK has pretended that it’s possible to increase trade with China while denouncing their human rights atrocities. I hope this is the beginning of the end for China’s trade impunity, and wish to thank Sajid Javid personally, who I met the other night, and who I believed when he told me he would do ‘all he could’ for the Uyghur people,” Mahmut said.

The passing of the modern slavery amendment will mark another major win of parliamentarians advocating for human rights in China.

On March 30, an amendment to the same bill was passed with the aim to stop British people from participating in forced organ harvesting in China.


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Lily Zhou is a freelance writer mostly covering UK news for The Epoch Times.