Hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs are forced to work in Chinese factories, also to profit French firms like Uniqlo and Zara. Therefore, on 12 April, French NGOs and an affected person, supported by ECCHR, submitted a complaint in Paris. The forced labor of the Uyghur minority may qualify as a crime against humanity. But this is not only a problem related to French companies. The garment industry in many European countries makes money from the systematic exploitation of the Uyghurs.
German Court of Justice rules in Heckler & Koch case
Heckler & Koch illegally exported arms to Mexico, ruled the German Federal Court of Justice on 30 March. The court made clear that declarations of weapons’ final destination are not sufficient to control German arms sales abroad. This is a groundbreaking verdict that will help rein in the German arms industry. ECCHR has stressed time and again that when weapons exports are not reasonably examined, people in countries where arms are exported suffer the consequences. That is why we worked for years on behalf of a person affected in Mexico to gain access to this trial.
Verdict in Eyad A’s case | Update of charges against Anwar R
In the al-Khatib trial, the Koblenz Higher Regional Court on 24 February sentenced Eyad A to four years and six months in prison for aiding and abetting 30 cases of crimes against humanity. This is the first time a former member of the Syrian intelligence services has been convicted of a crime under international law. In addition, the court decided on 17 March to extend the charges in Anwar R’s case: sexual violence will now be treated as a crime against humanity and not – as before – as individual cases.
The German goverment finally agreed on a supply chain law, after months of negotiations. Through the compromise, Germany takes a long overdue step towards human rights protection in global supply chains. However, the announced law is at least improveable. Read our statement here (in German).
Social human rights have priority over intellectual property
The global human right to health must trump intellectual property protection. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called potential COVID-19 vaccines a global common good. But the German government still disregards its international human rights obligations. In its new statement, ECCHR argues that globally applicable human rights standards must inform German politics – not pharmaceutical companies’ profit interests or a selfish “first come first serve” mentality that only benefits one’s own population.
ECCHR trial updates
In April, the first trial worldwide on state torture in Syria started in Germany. The defendants are Anwar R and Eyad A, two former officials of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s General Intelligence Service. ECCHR supports 17 torture survivors in the proceedings. Read our trial reports here.