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WASHINGTON – This past week, US President Donald Trump has finally given the green light to legislation calling for sanctions over the repression of China’s Uighur Muslims. The United Nations estimates more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps in the Xinjiang region, while Chinese officials are accused of subjecting Muslims to torture, abuse and trying to erase their culture and religion.

Cotton and apparel sectors are heavily implicated and tied up with the repression of the Uighur population. Xinjiang is by far the largest growing cotton region in China and there are serious concerns that cotton from that province is currently circulating in global supply chains – and will continue to do so until brands properly get a handle on the issue.

So what is the solution? Can the world afford to kiss goodbye to Xinjiang cotton – which provides just short of a fifth of global supply? Of course not.

In a new paper jointly produced with Applied DNA Sciences, we look at what role technology can play in helping to provide better traceability and transparency to cotton and apparel supply chains from hotspots such as Xinjiang.

In a seminal report on the Xinjiang crisis last year, the CSIS Human Rights Initiative recommended that the industry support the development of new methods for supply chain verification. Its report said: “This could include new technologies such as identification of DNA traits that could indicate whether a cotton-containing product contains Xinjiang cotton and thus test the veracity of supplier sourcing claims.”

You can view our complete paper for free HERE


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