Apr 022009

Expressing the sense of the Senate that the Government of Uzbekistan
should immediately enforce its existing domestic legislation and fulfill
its international commitments aimed at ending state-sponsored forced
and child labor.
APRIL 2, 2009
Mr. HARKIN (for himself, Mr. SANDERS, and Mr. BINGAMAN) submitted the
following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations
Expressing the sense of the Senate that the Government
of Uzbekistan should immediately enforce its existing
domestic legislation and fulfill its international commitments
aimed at ending state-sponsored forced and child
Whereas the United States has a growing strategic involvement
in Central Asia;
Whereas the interests of the United States in Central Asia,
including the operations in Afghanistan, can only be secured
by the presence in the region of viable, vigorous democracies
that fully guarantee the economic and social
rights of all people, including children;
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Whereas the Government of Uzbekistan continues to commit
serious human rights abuses, including arbitrary arrest
and detention, torture in custody, and the severe restriction
of freedom of speech, the press, religion, independent
political activity, and nongovernmental organizations;
Whereas the Government of Uzbekistan detains thousands of
people for political or religious reasons;
Whereas Uzbekistan is the third largest exporter of cotton in
the world, and cotton is 1 of the largest sources of export
revenue for Uzbekistan; Continue reading »

Mar 272009
Chopard’s Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele with Karimova.
27.03.09 17:27
Chopard’s controversy over Guli blood diamonds
Uznews.net – Chopard representatives have denied their involvement in promoting the Uzbek president’s daughter Gulnara Karimova’s Guli jewellery collection at an international watch and jewellery tradeshow in Basel, while Guli representatives claim the opposite.

A German journalist who is covering the tradeshow from Basel said that Chopard representatives had claimed that the presentation of Guli was being held with Chopard’s involvement.

A Chopard representative told the journalist that certain issues should be solved in relations between her company and Guli.

In particular, Chopard wants to clarify the guli.uz website’s claim that money raised from selling Guli jewellery will be spent on children’s projects in Uzbekistan.

There will be no joint presentation of the collection until this issue is clarified, she said, adding that even then it would be done no earlier than April or May.

However, those manning the Guli stand in Basel told the journalist that the presentation of their collection was being held jointly with Chopard and that the entire collection had been designed for this company. Continue reading »

Mar 252009
Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele and Gulnara Karimova
25.03.09 10:54
Chopard and Guli blood diamonds
Uznews.net – Uzbek human rights activist Abdujalil Boymatov has urged Chopard jewellery and watch company to reconsider its relations with Gulnara Karimova and plans to promote the Guli brand in order to avoid association with blood diamonds.

Boimatov said he sent a letter to the company in which he expressed his bewilderment about its cooperation with the Uzbek president’s daughter Gulnara Karimova. Continue reading »

Mar 192009
Chopard’s Caroline Gruosi-Scheufele
19.03.09 20:02
Chopard refuses to comment on links with Uzbek presidential daughter
Uznews.net – Chopard, a Swiss jewellery and watch company that is promoting the Uzbek president’s eldest daughter Gulnara Karimova’s Guli goldsmith collection, has refused to comment on its controversial cooperation with the Uzbek dictator’s daughter.

The company’s spokeswoman, Daphne Secretan, has confirmed that she has received Uznews.net’s questions and has promised to answer them within the next few days. Meanwhile, she said she had nothing to say about new cooperation and the company’s new partner.

Chopard will exhibit Karimova’s Guli jewelleries as part of its collection in Basel between 26 March and 2 April, and will afterwards sell them in its 150 boutiques worldwide.

Chopard’s cooperation with the daughter of President Islam Karimov who has claimed notoriety in the world after massacring a rally in Andijan on 13 May 2005 and imprisoning thousands of dissidents has caused negative reaction from people who observe the situation in Uzbekistan. Continue reading »

Feb 192009


Independent HRDs from Uzbekistan are worried and anxious about the news they are receiving about the dreadful situation in which prisoners of conscience find themselves in their places of detention. Many of them are being bullied by fanatical staff from penal colonies, and the tyrannical supervisors in the prisons subject them to all sorts of provocations. They do not receive medical assistance in time, and on many occasions their relatives have been denied permission to see them for various far-fetched reasons. Continue reading »

Feb 062009
People and the State
Alisher Karamatov; photo: HRSU
06.02.09 11:49
Human Rights Watch calls for release of Uzbek activist
Uznews.net – Human Rights Watch has urged Uzbekistan to immediately release convicted human rights activist Alisher Karamatov who is facing torture in prison.

It also demanded that the authorities investigate an incident when prison officers tortured him in freezing conditions on 30 December 2008.

His wife Namuna Karamatova said that prison guards had tortured him to confess to a disciplinary violation – attending prayers.

She complained that because of tuberculosis he was transferred from the Karshi prison to the Tashkent prison’s hospital in autumn 2008 and now he spat blood. Continue reading »

Nov 202008


t 202 347-4100 f 202 347-4885 laborrights@ilrf.org www.laborrights.org
Uzbekistan update: Government still forcing young children to harvest
cotton despite pledges to ban the practice

A group of human rights defenders in Uzbekistan
International Labor Rights Forum
November 2008
This report is based on information gathered by human rights defenders within Uzbekistan in
September/October 2008. Contrary to the government of Uzbekistan’s assertions that it has
banned forced child labor, recent information suggests it continues to compel children as young
as 11 and 12 to pick cotton, closing schools and using other coercive measures to enforce
compliance. Although Uzbekistan has recently signed two ILO conventions against forced and
child labor, and issued a new decree ostensibly prohibiting the practice, information from
around the country shows that the government continues to rely on the state?orchestrated
mass mobilization of children to bring in the 2008 cotton harvest. Uzbekistan is the world’s
third largest exporter of cotton, and cotton is that country’s largest source of export revenue.
Children already in the fields for weeks
According to reports from nine of Uzbekistan’s twelve territorial units, (Jizzakh, Fergana,
Namangan, Syr Daria, Surkhandaria, Bukhara, Khorezm, Tashkent and Samarkand provinces) by
the third week of of September local governments and school administrators had already sent
children as young as the seventh grade (ages 13?14), and in some cases as young as fifth grade
(11?12) out to the fields to pick cotton. By the end of September, pressure to bring in the
harvest before rains began near the end of the month led local officials to order the smallest
schoolchildren, from first grade on, to labor on the harvest.
In Fergana, schools were closed and children were sent out from September 22, though a week
earlier those same schools forced children to sign statements that they would remain in school
over the fall semester. Journalists on the scene suggested that these statements were intended
to give local government officials plausible deniability if the children’s presence in the fields was
In one Namangan district, journalists and human rights defenders observed children from
several schools, some as young as eleven, picking cotton. The children reported that each day
local government officials and bureaucrats from the local education department would visit the
fields to check up on the number of pupils out picking, and to make sure that harvest targets
were being met.
The Samarkand provincial government also sent its schoolchildren out to pick cotton on
September 22. Children as young as 13 were forced from their classrooms on that date, though
International Labor Rights Forum Continue reading »

Oct 312008

Uzbekistan – Alleged torture and ill-treatment of imprisoned human rights defender

Posted on 2008/10/31

Front Line is deeply concerned by the health conditions of the imprisoned human rights defender Abdurasul Khudoynazarov who tried to commit suicide on 1 September 2008, reportedly as a result of the harsh conditions of detention he endures in the N64/1 Prison in Bekabat, Tashkent region. Abdurasul Khudoynazarov, a member of the Human Rights Society of Uzbekistan (HRSU) “Ezgulik”, was arrested on 26 June 2005, and condemned to nine years imprisonment. Continue reading »

Oct 282008


Forced Child Labor in Uzbekistan’s 2008
Spring Agricultural Season

A Report Based on Surveys in Two Rural Districts in Uzbekistan
International Labor Rights Forum
And Human Rights Defenders in Uzbekistan
This report was completed by a group of Uzbek human rights defenders known to the
International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF). While these individuals deserve credit for their
thorough research, the present situation in Uzbekistan requires that they remain anonymous.
Amnesty International’s 2008 report The State of the World’s Human Rights finds that in 2007
Uzbekistan’s “human rights defenders and journalists continued to report being threatened by
members of the security services for carrying out legitimate activities. Several reported being
assaulted and beaten and detained by law enforcement officers or people they suspected
working for the security services. Relatives spoke of being threatened and harassed by security
forces; some were detained in order to put pressure on human rights defenders.”1
The report focuses on the spring 2008 agricultural season. However, there have already been
several reports showing that the problems described here have continued during the current
fall 2008 harvest, as well, despite claims to the contrary. For example, the website Uznews.net
reported on September 26, 2008, “Schoolchildren aged 13 and over have been sent to pick
cotton in all districts in Samarkand Region despite government pledges not to use child labor
in this cotton harvest…. An official from the Pastdargom District education department said
this order had taken him and his colleagues by surprise because only few days before they were
ordered to ensure 100% attendances at schools.”2
ILRF continues to work with other human rights groups, socially responsible investors and
businesses to pressure the government of Uzbekistan to end its use of children in the cotton
sector immediately.
1 “Amnesty International Report 2008: The State of the World’s Human Rights-Uzbekistan,” Amnesty
International, http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/regions/europe-and-central-asia/uzbekistan, 2008.
2 “Schoolchildren sent to pick cotton in Samarkand Region,” Uznews.net,
http://www.uznews.net/news_single.php?lng=en&sub=top&cid=2&nid=7398, September 26, 2008.
At the end of March and in early April this year, Uzbekistan’s parliament ratified the ILO
Convention on Minimal Age of Employment (No. 138, 1973) and the Convention on
Prohibition and Immediate Action for Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (No.
182, 1999). The very next month, however, under the direction of Uzbekistan’s central
government, local authorities and school administrations forced thousands of children out to
the fields for spring agricultural work. In temperatures of up to 35 degrees Celsius (96
Fahrenheit) children as young as 12 – 15 performed heavy labor, such as hoeing, weeding,
applying fertilizer and pesticides and transplanting young cotton plants. Children suffered
heatstroke, burns, and a variety of infectious diseases from the poor working conditions, long
hours, and lack of clean water and basic sanitation. School hours were truncated and for some
periods schools closed altogether to spur children into the fields. Continue reading »