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06 June, 2019 / Uzbekistan

Umida Niyazova on Forced Labor in Uzbekistan Despite progress, forced labor remains a reality in Uzbekistan.

If the ultimate goal is the eradication of all forced labor in Uzbekistan, Tashkent hasn’t yet achieved it. While most observers concede progress on this front, and welcome greater openness on the part of Uzbek authorities in discussing the cotton industry, the reality remains that some people in Uzbekistan are forced to pick cotton and state policies aid and abet this exploitation. When the overall theme is progress, it becomes all the more important to keep track of persistent challenges and underlying causes; it’s vital to continue open conversations about both.
29 May, 2019 / Turkmenistan
The World’s Worst Country for Journalists

The World’s Worst Country for Journalists

Last month the Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan overtook North Korea to become most repressive media environment in the world, according to the Reporters Without Borders annual Press Freedom Index. The media watchdog described the Central Asian nation as a news “black hole” where all media is controlled by the government and where the few independent journalists working for foreign-based news sites have been harassed, arrested, and tortured. Just 15 percent of the country can get online, and even then the version of the internet they have access to is highly censored.
28 May, 2019 / Uzbekistan

Uzbek Human Rights Defenders Appeal to International Companies Not to Lift Boycott of Uzbek Cotton

In the last few years, the government of Uzbekistan has undertaken reforms aimed at ending forced labor in its cotton industry, some of which have resulted in a significant reduction of the number of citizens forced into the fields. However, the root structural problems of the system which continue to incentivize and drive forced labor on a massive scale remain unaddressed. In fact, Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights monitored the 2018 cotton harvest and estimates that on November 12th, 2018 alone, between 400,000 and 800,000 individuals were forced to pick cotton by the government. Public sector workers such as military personnel, firefighters, small entrepreneurs, bank employees, and factory workers bore the burden of picking cotton or were extorted to pay for pickers to take their place.
30 April, 2019 / Uzbekistan
In Karakalpakstan, a farmer was pulled from a noose. Shortly before, his land had been taken away.

In Karakalpakstan, a farmer was pulled from a noose. Shortly before, his land had been taken away.

A video was published on the Ozodlik Radio website showing how doctors provided first aid to the farmer who was unconscious in an ambulance. The voices of the farmer’s relatives can be heard explaining to the paramedics that the man had drunk vinegar before trying to hang himself. The farmer’s father, explaining the reasons for his son’s suicide attempt, says that “the hokim subjected his son to unbearable suffering.”
30 April, 2019 / Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyz unions oppose anti-union law

Kyrgyz unions oppose anti-union law

IndustriALL Global Union affiliates in Kyrgyzstan are demanding the  withdrawal of a draft law on trade unions, which significantly undermines independent trade unions.
26 April, 2019 / Uzbekistan

In Namangan, hundreds of hectares sown with vegetables were destroyed to increase cotton production

Radio Ozodlik spoke with farmers from the Pap district of the Namangan region, who reported that the local authorities had ordered the destruction of their crop of vegetables and melons, in order to free the land for cotton planting. According to the farmers, several of them who had spent all their money on planting vegetables on their land was left without a means of income.
20 April, 2019 / Uzbekistan
Uzbek Farmers Forced to Give up their Land

Uzbek Farmers Forced to Give up their Land

zbek farmers Nargiza Mamajonova and Zuhra Azizova have complained to the Ozodlik radio that the state has confiscated their land. Both women said that they had rented abandoned land and invested all their money to establish successful farms. Today they are left with nothing.
05 April, 2019 / Uzbekistan
UGF Report: Despite Progress, Systemic Forced Labor Persists in Uzbekistan’s 2018 Cotton Harvest  Cotton Campaign Urges Further Reform

UGF Report: Despite Progress, Systemic Forced Labor Persists in Uzbekistan’s 2018 Cotton Harvest Cotton Campaign Urges Further Reform

The report is based on 70 in-depth interviews, including with officials, 300 field visits, and monitoring of more than 100 farms. It documents both the significant progress made by the Uzbek government, as well as ongoing forced labor due to structural factors that remain largely in place. Driven by a commitment to reform at the highest levels of government, there is significant transition underway which is reflected in some encouraging signs of progress, but the 2018 harvest showcased the enormous challenges remaining in Uzbekistan’s efforts to end forced labor.
04 April, 2019 / Uzbekistan
ILO Cites Dramatic Drop in Uzbek Use of Forced Labor

ILO Cites Dramatic Drop in Uzbek Use of Forced Labor

The International Labor Organization is reporting a dramatic 48 percent reduction last year in the use of forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, which for decades has been listed among the world's worst offenders.