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LEIDEN - Swedish-owned homeware giant IKEA is investigating claims that some of its products, including table linen, curtains and towels, were produced under forced labour conditions by prisoners in Belarus penal colonies.

French non-profit investigative network Disclose claims that accounting records and witness interviews, including with former detainees, suggest that at least 10 IKEA subcontractors in Belarus “had ties with penal colonies over the past 10 years”.

In a statement, IKEA said it was concerned about the claims and took them seriously. It added that it had already pulled out of Belarus due to human rights challenges including the country's support for Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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