One year after the death of Islam Karimov, the continued use of forced labour in Uzbekistan’s cotton fields shows how slow the pace of change really is.
A video shot in secret and posted online shows a district official in Uzbekistan beating and humiliating several principals of local schools. The district chief was reportedly punishing the principals for their failure to send teachers to an Independence Day celebration in late August. (Current Time TV)
Uzbekistan is cutting back on its cotton cultivation to make way for fruit and vegetable fields. While that happens, however, the custom of forcing state workers to pick cotton is proving hard to abandon.
On June 27 we released a joint report documenting forced and child labor linked to the World Bank’s agriculture projects in Uzbekistan. We hoped it would cause bank officials to rethink their approach. But then the bank’s country team inadvertently left an internal conversation on our voicemail. Oops! It revealed their ultimate goal: to protect the bank from external pressure and get new agriculture projects through their executive board “unscathed,” as one of the voices on the phone said. He went on: “We want to avoid any more stuff that goes out that says ‘oh and look [a board member is] really taking this seriously, now they’re going to call for a full board hearing.”
On July 29, the popular Uzbek news website www.kun.uz published an article written by the journalist Tura Murod, who had recently been fired for criticizing the massive mobilization of teachers for mandatory “public” works and such as cleaning the streets, weeding and picking cotton, as well as repairing and constructing public buildings.
The infamous forced labour practice in Uzbekistan is still widespread. Two detailed reports on the subject have been released at the same time in July. The 115-page report “We can’t Refuse to Pick Cotton. Forced and Child Labor Linked to World Bank Group Investments in Uzbekistan”
On 21 July 2017, the Uzbek website www.sof.uz posted the audio recording of a meeting of school directors and heads of kindergartens held at the Uzbekistan District Education Department in the Fergana Region. [The meeting was recorded covertly and sent to the local journalists].
At the meeting, the head of the Uzbekistan district Education Department in the Fergana region Nafisa Nishonova told the teachers that agricultural issues had priority.
(Brussels) – The World Bank is funding half a billion dollars in agricultural projects linked to forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, Human Rights Watch and the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights said in a report released today. Under the loan agreements, the Uzbek government is required to comply with laws prohibiting forced and child labor, and the World Bank can suspend the loans if there is credible evidence of violations.
Report by human rights groups says Bank-funded projects in the country’s cotton industry are using child and forced labour. The Bank refutes the allegations
As has always happened at the end of every May, Nasiba Barkasheva’s home burst with frenetic activity as the silkworm cocoon harvest reached its conclusion