Protesting employees of Severelectro OJSC demand from the Chairman of the National Energy Holding, Aitmamat Nazarov, to come out to them for a dialogue. About 70 fitters and electricians of the company took part in a protest because of their disagreement with the appointment of the new director of the company Ulan Astarkulov.
On October 15, the president Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a new law “On the rights of persons with disabilities”. What measures must be taken so that it does not repeat the fate of the previous law – “On social protection of disabled people” – and really protects their rights and interests? Together with Oybek Isakov, Chairperson of the Association of Disabled People of Uzbekistan (an umbrella NGO uniting 28 public organisations of/for disabled people) we published an article in Russian at Gazeta.uz.
For the tenth consecutive year, Uzbek Forum for Human Rights has independently monitored forced labor during the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan. The harvest in 2020 is taking place amidst the significant challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also important policy developments, such as the nearly complete transfer of the cotton production system to private cotton textile clusters and the abolition of state cotton quotas, as well as existing issues such as the continued lack of independent recruitment channels.
Uzbekistan is a country in transition. In recent years, the Uzbek government eliminated state-sponsored forced child labor in the cotton harvest, and then committed in 2017 to eliminate forced adult labor. The government has made significant progress toward achieving that commitment, including increasing cotton picking wages and enacting measures to abolish government production quotas for cotton.
Members of the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) – a network of human rights NGOs from across Europe, the former Soviet Union and North America – express our support and solidarity with Kyrgyzstan’s civil society in its efforts to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law at this time of political crisis and upheaval in the Central Asian country. We call on the authorities of Kyrgyzstan, as well as on all the groups staking claims on power to opt for dialogue and cooperation, refrain from violence, and act strictly within the framework of national and international law with a view to overcoming the current uncertainty, power struggles and threats of lawlessness and to continuing the course of democratic development.
Domestic violence is widespread and has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The IUF is today launching Breaking the silence, a guide on why domestic violence is a trade union issue and how unions should deal with it. It draws strongly on materials developed by IUF affiliates.
Since the end of September large numbers of public sector workers have been sent to pick cotton. A total lack of coordination means that in some districts people have to travel to the fields in open pick-up trucks and even on foot. Quite a few children aged between 10 and 16 have been seen among the pickers, although officially there’s a ban on using minors. Children either go instead of their parents or in order to earn some money. Public sector workers can buy themselves out of cotton picking duties by paying pickers “from the street” to go in their place. The heads of public sector organizations are suspected of pocketing some of this money. The number of cotton pickers required from each profession varies from region to region. For example, schoolteachers in Turkmenabat have to give money for cotton picking twice a month and to go picking themselves two Sundays a month, while in some districts in Dashoguz teachers go only at the weekends and do not have to contribute any money during the week.