Belarusian suppliers of the IKEA chain used the labor of prisoners, the organization claims
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The Disclose organization claims to have testimony and documentation proving that ten Belarusian suppliers of the Swedish chain used the labor of Belarusian prisoners in production. Among them are also people who ended up behind bars because of their political beliefs. Moreover, Belarus is not a rule of law state.

IKEA began sourcing from Belarusian suppliers in 1999. In March, it announced that it was suspending exports and imports of goods with Belarus due to the war in Ukraine, and in June it terminated contracts with Belarusian suppliers, writes Politico. But before that, according to the Belarusian authorities, her purchases in the country were growing significantly. In 2021, they reached a volume of 300 million euros (7.5 billion crowns), in 2018 it was only 130 million euros.

One of the cases to which the organization draws attention concerns the penal colony for juveniles IK-2, with which six suppliers of the Swedish company cooperated. The report mentions Mogotex, a textile company, and Borwood, a wood goods manufacturer.

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“We currently have no direct relationship with the companies mentioned,” IKEA responded to the report. According to the spokesperson, the company takes the information very seriously and does not intend to tolerate human rights violations in its supply chain.

“Manufacturing in Belarusian penal colonies represents a very developed economic sector with trading companies operating directly in these colonies,” said Belarus specialist Jauhen Kry┼żanuvski. According to him, the websites of these companies are often indistinguishable from ordinary businesses. These businesses effectively use forced labor, which, according to NGOs, receives many times less pay than is customary in Belarus.

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