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18 November, 2019 / Tajikistan
Teachers toil in cotton fields as Tajikistan tries to fix trade imbalance

Teachers toil in cotton fields as Tajikistan tries to fix trade imbalance

Farmers are forced to grow it. Teachers are forced to pick it. And though everyone loses, the government still thinks cotton will fix its lopsided balance of trade.
01 November, 2019 / Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan: Efforts Underway to End Forced Labor

Uzbekistan: Efforts Underway to End Forced Labor

The Cotton Campaign met with the government of Uzbekistan in Washington last week to discuss reform efforts to end forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest, which is currently underway. The Uzbek delegation, headed by Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade Sardor Umurzakov, presented its Roadmap to combat forced labor, which seeks to address the key concerns raised by the Cotton Campaign in its dialogue with the government.
21 October, 2019 / Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan: union leader Erlan Baltabay imprisoned again

Kazakhstan: union leader Erlan Baltabay imprisoned again

The ITUC is calling for the release of Erlan Baltabay, a leader of the Independent Oil and Energy Workers’ Union in Kazakhstan, who has been returned to prison to serve a new 5-month term. Baltabay was released from prison in August, following a special decree by Kazakhstan’s President, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, that he be released on humanitarian grounds.
18 October, 2019 / Uzbekistan
For the sake of workers, Uzbekistan is privatising its cotton industry

For the sake of workers, Uzbekistan is privatising its cotton industry

Under the blazing sun in a cloudless blue sky, green foliage droops with unfurling white cotton bolls. In the Fergana Valley in the heart of Central Asia, in the shadow of snow-dusted mountains, the cotton is ripe for picking. If the Uzbek authorities have their way, it will become t-shirts and skirts, to be sold around the world. Uzbekistan, already the world’s seventh-biggest producer of cotton, wants to become a force in the garment industry, too, on a par with the likes of Bangladesh, China and Vietnam.
17 October, 2019 / Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan: Amidst reform effort, journalists and activists face criminal charges, arbitrary detention, forced psychiatric treatment

Uzbekistan: Amidst reform effort, journalists and activists face criminal charges, arbitrary detention, forced psychiatric treatment

The Cotton Campaign calls on the Uzbek government to drop criminal charges against Mahmud Rajab, a poet, journalist, and human rights defender, whose trial on contraband charges is set to begin Thursday. The government should also stop interfering with independent reporting on human rights issues, including forced labor.
10 October, 2019 / Uzbekistan
Government still restricting free reporting

Government still restricting free reporting

In spite its rhetoric on reform, Uzbekistan is failing to overcome its habit of resorting to authoritarian practices when silencing critics. Highly secretive closed-door trials remain a familiar feature, and relatives of defendants can still expect to be threatened by security services operatives.
30 September, 2019 / Turkmenistan
Slight Relief for Teachers in Eastern Turkmenistan over Cotton Campaign

Slight Relief for Teachers in Eastern Turkmenistan over Cotton Campaign

At least two secondary schools in Turkmenabat are easing up on compulsory participation in the annual cotton campaign, according to teachers at the schools. The teachers used to have to pay three times a week or more to hire cotton pickers, but this season they have to hand over money only once a week. The weekend routine remains the same, though: either the teachers go to pick cotton themselves two Sundays a month, or they give money to hire someone else. Overall teachers shell out between 60 and 90 manats a month ($3.3-5)
23 September, 2019 / Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan Doing Everything To Keep Zhanaozen Activists Away From Proposed Rally

Kazakhstan Doing Everything To Keep Zhanaozen Activists Away From Proposed Rally

Following a wave of antigovernment protests across Kazakhstan earlier this month, activists from the volatile city of Zhanaozen say authorities are taking extraordinary measures to prevent them from attending another rally.
19 September, 2019 / Uzbekistan
Malokhat Eshankulova again restricted to travel abroad and in criminal proceedings

Malokhat Eshankulova again restricted to travel abroad and in criminal proceedings

Malokhat Eshankulova, an independent journalist from Uzbekistan, was unable to fly to Warsaw, where the OSCE Human Rights Conference began today.
07 September, 2019 / Turkmenistan
Turkmen activist Gaspar Matalaev released

Turkmen activist Gaspar Matalaev released

Turkmen labor rights activist Gaspar Matalaev walked free from prison on September 6, having served a spurious three-year sentence in full. He is now back home with his family.