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Clean Energy: Safeguarding of Human Rights

Volume 701: debated on Wednesday 20 October 2021

4. What steps he is taking to ensure that the safeguarding of human rights in the development of clean energy projects is considered at COP26. (903710)

The UK works with all countries to deliver ambitious action on climate change and ensure that human rights are placed at the forefront of our climate action. Under the UK’s COP presidency, we are bringing forward a declaration for donor countries to support the conditions for a just transition from high-carbon industries into quality, decent, new jobs.

Human rights abuses, such as the treatment of the Uyghurs in China, are hugely relevant to COP. An investigation earlier this year found that 40% of UK solar firms were built using panels from firms linked to forced labour in Xinjiang, China. How does the COP26 President intend to approach the need to work together with countries such as China while also meeting our moral obligations in relation to these abuses?

The allegations are, of course, a cause for concern. Further detailed investigations are required to establish to what extent that forced labour is present in the solar supply chain. We are thoroughly investigating those allegations. On 12 January, we announced a series of measures to help ensure that no UK organisation is complicit in human rights violations or abuses taking place in Xinjiang, including strengthening the overseas business risk guidance to support businesses making the right choices.