Home News Ikea suspected of having indirectly used the labor of prisoners in Belarus

Ikea suspected of having indirectly used the labor of prisoners in Belarus

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The Swedish behemoth Ikea was pinned this Thursday, November 17 by the investigative media Disclose for having signed contracts with suppliers in Belarus using prison labor. An accusation which the Swedish company has defended.

The multinational, which cut its ties in March with its Belarusian suppliers because of the war in Ukraine, however admitted that it could not exclude this possibility 100%. “There is, unfortunately, no system in the world strong enough to guarantee zero risk of misconduct”explained to AFP the world number one in furniture.

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In its specifications, Ikea ensures in particular that it rejects the ” forced labor “ and prison labor. “To verify that suppliers comply with these requirements, we have a well-established process, including gap assessments, compliance checks and monitoring of action plans in the event of deviations”argued Ikea.

Prisons practicing torture

According to Disclose’s investigation, several Belarusian companies that were until recently on Ikea’s supplier list have collaborated with at least five prisons and penal colonies of President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime.

These are a total of ten former Belarusian contractors of Ikea, including the companies Mogotex and Ivatsevichdrev. According to the French media, they used the labor of prisoners from various prisons (IK-2, IK-4, IK-9, IK-15 and Rypp5). “Penitentiary establishments known for acts of torture, deprivation of food and care”says Disclose.

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Due to the invasion of Ukraine, Ikea announced in early March to suspend its activities in Russia but also with its Belarusian ally. The furniture giant then announced its withdrawal from both countries.

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First charges in the 1970s-1980s

In Belarus, Ikea had no stores but had estimated the work done by its subcontractors at 10,000 indirect jobs, compared to 15,000 direct jobs and 50,000 indirect in Russia.

The multinational of Swedish origin, whose main holdings are based in the Netherlands, had already been exposed to a prison labor scandal.

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In 2012, following an internal investigation, Ikea admitted that to produce some of its furniture, suppliers had used forced labor from political prisoners in East Germany in the 1970s and 1980s. followed revelations from a Swedish investigative program.

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