This issue of the “Chronicle of Forced Labor in Uzbekistan“ presents an overview of the Uzbek media over the past three months. Since President Mirziyoyev has taken office, a weakening of censorship has been observed, allowing local journalists to cover stories of forced labor more widely. The last three months have been significant with the leadership of Uzbekistan moving away from complete denial of the existence of forced labor, to acknowledgement of the problem and promises to end this vicious practice. The peak period for mass mobilized forced labor is during the cotton harvest. The forthcoming cotton season will show whether the government of Uzbekistan is ready, willing and able to implement the changes they have promised to eradicate the practice. Continue reading “Chronicle of the labor situation in Uzbekistan Media review for the period March – May, 2018”
The chain of exploitation in the textile industry often begins in the collection of cotton. This is the case in Uzbekistan, one of the largest producers in the world, with the peculiarity that, in the former Soviet republic, forced labor is organized by the government itself. One million people are forcibly mobilized each year to work in the cotton fields in exchange for ridiculous salaries. Due to international pressure, children brought from schools have been released from this task, as confirmed by the International Labor Organization on 30 November in a report sent to the World Bank. “The problem is that this has generated a lack of labor in cotton, and the government now recruits employees of public institutions, including doctors, nurses and teachers, harming these public services because of a shortage of personnel,” says Alfa and Omega. Umida Niyazova, director of the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights, member organization of the Dignitex network.