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LONDON - Barristers have issued the first legal opinion that China's treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the country's Xinjiang region amounts to crimes against humanity including genocide.

Up to two million Uyghur Muslims have been incarcerated in Xinjiang where many are reportedly used as forced labour in the region's cotton industry which meets more than a fifth of global demand.

The legal opinion, obtained by the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) in partnership with the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) and Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP), will increase pressure on brands and retailers to pull out of the region.

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