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Faced With Questions About Forced Labor in China, the I.O.C. Is Tight-Lipped

by The Anand Market January 4, 2022 in World

According to Freeman, an informal effort began in May to arrange a conversation between the IOC and the Union to end forced labor in the Uyghur region, a group of more than 300 organizations founded last year. Finally, in the fall, the IOC requested the coalition to send a formal request to meet on October 8.

Authorities initially provided a written response instead. In an email on October 29, Human Rights Officer Martowicz told Freeman that the IOC’s procurement policy prohibits forced labor. However, she did not say how the IOC enforced the ban, except “sometimes” and “relationship with suppliers,” that is, the company itself “requests evidence of compliance.”

She added that the third-party check was something the IOC would “consider” in the “next few months.”

Critics say the IOC is slower to adopt a human rights framework than companies and other global sports organizations such as FIFA. The IOC has adopted new requirements for host cities to support international standards on human rights, but they will not be effective until 2024.

Three days after Martowicz’s email, the coalition asked for a conversation again. Finally, on December 9, Martowicz said the IOC would meet conditionally.

The lecture will be a one-time event. Confidentiality is maintained before, during, and after the email is displayed. And the IOC just listened.

“For clarity, the IOC will not share information with the Union (except those already shared) during the exercise,” Martowicz wrote.

Zumretay Arkin, program and advocacy manager for the World Uyghur Congress, a Uighur rights group that is part of the coalition, said the situation felt laughable.

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