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BEIJING: China’s lawmakers on Wednesday announced that it ratified two international conventions against forced labour, months after United Nations experts voiced concerns over the country’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities.

Beijing’s approvals come as the country faces accusations of widespread human rights abuses, including forced labour.

London and Washington have been among vocal critics of China’s treatment of minorities, with the US State Department previously calling on China to “end its genocide and crimes against humanity” in the region.

On Wednesday, China’s top legislature approved the ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Forced Labour Convention, as well as the Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, according to official announcements on the National People’s Congress website.

Labour rights have been a fraught issue in China, with a committee of 20 experts appointed by the ILO — a UN agency — taking China to task in its annual report published in February.

UN labour agency: where workers’ rights are set in concrete

China has lashed out at accusations of forced labour as untrue and politically motivated.

Members who ratify the two conventions are obliged to suppress and not use any form of forced or compulsory labour, according information on the ILO’s website.

They should also take measures to secure the “immediate and complete abolition” of such labour.

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