Oct 072015


Demand justice for victims of forced labor in Uzbekistan!


Tue, 6 Oct 2015 06:19:24 -0500 (CDT)


Abby McGill, Campaigns Director <laborrights@ilrf.org>


Abby McGill, Campaigns Director <laborrights@ilrf.org>


Eldar Zeynalov <hrca@mail.ru>


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Dear Eldar,

Tell World Bank and ILO to help end forced labor in Uzbek cotton!

It’s cotton season in


Uzbekistan, and once again the Uzbek government is forcing millions of Uzbek citizens to harvest cotton for a state-run enterprise that benefits only the powerful elite. Despite this egregious human rights violation, the World Bank is investing $500 million into Uzbekistan’s agriculture sector. 

The good news is that the World Bank has pledged to suspend its projects if forced labor is found in its project areas. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has agreed to conduct the Bank’s forced labor monitoring. Meanwhile, citizens conducting their own reporting in cotton fields are experiencing an unprecedented level of violence.

The ILO and World Bank need to hear from YOU! Tell them how important it is to fully report the extent of the Uzbek government’s use of forced labor, and that they need to do everything they can to protect and assist civil society monitors!

Civil society monitors have already confirmed forced labor in World Bank project areas. Uzbek officials have forced retirees into the fields under threat of cutting their pensions in Karakalpakstan; forced university students to pick cotton under threat of expulsion in Tashkent; and forced teachers, nurses and doctors to pick cotton under threat of being fired across the country.

Uzbekistan is the world’s fifth largest exporter of cotton, cotton that ends up in the clothes we all wear, and it is an important revenue source for the country’s corrupt elite. To protect the system, Uzbekistan’s authoritarian government has launched a string of violent attacks against the civil society monitors, subjecting them to body cavity searches, beatings, detention, surveillance and intimidation.

Please help us send a message to the World Bank and ILO: hold the Uzbek government accountable for its use of forced labor, and denounce its violent retaliation against civil-society monitors!

Thank you for all that you do,

Abby McGill
Campaigns Director

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