Blind workers at the “CHYOTKA” training and production enterprise in Tashkent which belongs to the Society of the Blind of Uzbekistan are complaining of meagre wages and unemployment. The situation in the labour market of Uzbekistan is further exacerbated by the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and related quarantine measures. Disabled people are now experiencing an even higher level of unemployment, which can lead to poverty reports a local journalist Dana Oparina at Anhor.uz.
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.
Reports from Uzbekistan contradict the government's claim that it has phased out its internationally-criticized policy of forcing citizens into farm fields to pick cotton every autumn. Under pressure from the Cotton Campaign, a worldwide coalition of human rights groups and businesses boycotting Uzbek cotton since 2010 over the use of child- and forced-labor in the country, officials in Tashkent say they have ended the practice.
The Ferghana oil refinery is Uzbekistan’s largest – and most sought after. Based in the most densely populated region of Uzbekistan in the Ferghana valley, the mammoth, Soviet-built complex churns out up to 6.5 million metric tons of oil and other petroleum products a year. Dozens of oil trucks are seen daily climbing the narrow Kamchik Pass that links the valley to the rest of Uzbekistan.
Radio Ozodlik, an Uzbek-language service of Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, reported in June that 287 staffers of the Ferghana refinery sent a group petition to Mirziyoyev’s online reception. Since Mirziyoyev’sascension to power, the reception has become an effective and often the only tool to complain about corruption among Uzbek officials.
On August 10, Bishkek’s Pervomaysk District Court ordered that Uzbek journalist Bobomurod Abdullaev remain in custody until September 8. In the meantime, the General Prosecutor’s Office of Kyrgyzstan is to decide on the request of the Uzbek authorities to extradite the opposition journalist to Uzbekistan. Abdullaev was detained in Kyrgyzstan on August 9 upon the request of officials in Tashkent. He is being held in the Kyrgyz State Committee for National Security (GKNB) detention facility while Uzbek law enforcement agencies are investigating him for a “number of crimes”, according to UKMK.
The Special Commission on Combating Covid-19 has strengthened quarantine measures throughout Uzbekistan from July 10 to August 1. The government has restricted traffic, banned events and weddings, closed parks, markets, large shops and gyms, and prohibited people over 65 from going out.
Проблемы, с которыми все еще сталкиваются низовые активисты и самоинициативные НПО в Узбекистане несмотря на сильную политическую волю президента Мирзиёева к усилению роли гражданского общества в процессе демократического развития страны. Отдавая кредит там, где должен быть кредит, в отличие от государственных НПО, снизу-вверх группы пытаются зарегистрироваться, и весь процесс административных процедур направлен на то, чтобы разочаровать и унывать. Помимо бюрократических лент, зарегистрированные НПО задыхаются из-за обременительной отчетности и спроса на предварительное утверждение для повседневной деятельности. Помимо ограниченных местных финансовых ресурсов и слабых организационных возможностей, узбекские НПО ограничены иностранным финансированием. Практические рекомендации, как позволить третьему сектору свободно дышать путем стирания стереотипов, предубеждений и негативного отношения к НПО в Узбекистане.
As Uzbekistan turns to privatisation to solve forced labour in the state-controlled cotton sector, an investigation into an international equipment contract raises red flags over business practices and government control.