Nov 202008


t 202 347-4100 f 202 347-4885
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
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,, 2008.
2 “Schoolchildren sent to pick cotton in Samarkand Region,”,, 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 »

Oct 212008
Freedom of Speech < back
Jamshid Karimov; photo:
21.10.08 23:31
Uzbek president’s dissident nephew still locked up – Samarkand’s psychiatric hospital is continuing the forced treatment and confinement of Jamshid Karimov, an independent journalist and President Islam Karimov’s nephew, a hospital source said.

Information about his release spread by sources in Jizak Region few days ago has turned out to be fake.

The source told today that Jamshid Karimov, 41, was still in hospital and there were no signs of his release.

“Jamshid is in hospital. We do not know when he will be discharged,” the source said.

Information on his release from the psychiatric hospital was first circulated last Saturday when it was reported that two activists of the Ezgulik society Dilmurod Muhitdinov from Andijan Region and Mamarajab Nazarov from Jizak Region were released from prison. They both were sentenced to five years in 2006.

The news about the release of Muhitdinov and Nazarov was soon confirmed by their lawyers and relatives, whereas no-one could manage to learn about the future of Jamshid Karimov. Continue reading »

Apr 092008

International covenant
on civil and political
24 April 2008
Original: ENGLISH
Ninety-second session
17 March – 4 April 2008
Communication No. 1205/2003
Submitted by: Mrs. Zinaida Yakupova (not represented by
Alleged victim: The author’s husband, Mr. Zholmurza
State party: Uzbekistan
Date of communication: 8 October 2003 (initial submission)
Document references: Special Rapporteur’s rule 92/97 decision,
transmitted to the State party on 9 October 2003
(not issued in document form)
Date of adoption of Views: 3 April 2008
* Made public by decision of the Human Rights Committee.
Page 2
Subject matter: Imposition of death penalty after unfair trial and on basis of confession
obtained under torture in another country.
Substantive issues: Torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; right to
life; right to seek pardon or commutation; right to be presumed innocent; right not to be
compelled to testify against oneself or to confess guilt.
Procedural issue: Lack of substantiation of claim.
Articles of the Covenant: 6; 7; 14, paragraphs 2 and 3(g)
Article of the Optional Protocol: 2
On 4 April 2008, the Human Rights Committee adopted the annexed text as the
Committee’s Views under article 5, paragraph 4, of the Optional Protocol in respect of
communication No. 1205/2003.
Page 3 Continue reading »

Feb 062008

—– Original Message —–



Sent: Wednesday, February 06, 2008 4:32 AM

Subject: Uzbekistan: Activists Released Before EU Meeting

For Immediate Release

Uzbekistan: Activists Released Before EU Meeting

EU Should Sustain Pressure on Tashkent to Release Other Imprisoned Activists

(New York, February 5, 2008) – The Uzbek government’s recent release of five individuals imprisoned for human rights work shows that sustained international pressure on Tashkent is effective, Human Rights Watch said today. The releases occurred in the days preceding an important bilateral EU-Uzbekistan meeting in Tashkent on February 5.

The five activists released or amnestied between February 2-4 are Umida Niazova, Saidjahon Zainabitdinov, Dilmurod Muhitdinov, Ikhtior Khamraev, and Bahodir Mukhtarov. Niazova was serving a suspended prison sentence after her seven-year prison term was commuted in May 2007 ( english/docs/ 2007/05/08/ uzbeki15881. htm). Continue reading »

Jan 042008

MOSCOW: A prominent Uzbek human rights activist has been released from prison, just a month after he was sentenced to more than six years for fraud, a colleague said Friday.

Karim Bozorboyev, deputy chairman of the Esguliq human rights group, was freed under an amnesty celebrating the 15th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s constitution, Esguliq chairman Isroil Rizaev told The Associated Press. Continue reading »

Nov 252007

Thirty-ninth session
Geneva, 5 – 23 November 2007
Conclusions and recommendations of the Committee against Torture
1. The Committee considered the third periodic report of Uzbekistan (CAT/C/UZB/3) at its
789th and 792nd meetings (CAT/C/SR.789 and CAT/C/SR.792), held on 9 and 12 October 2007,
and adopted, at its 807th and 808th meetings, held on 22 November 2007 (CAT/C/SR.807 and
CAT/C/SR.808), the following conclusions and recommendations.
A. Introduction
2. The Committee welcomes the submission of the third periodic report of Uzbekistan and
the extensive responses to the list of issues (CAT/C/UZB/Q/3/Add.1) by the State party and the
representatives who participated in the oral review.
B. Positive aspects
3. The Committee welcomes the following developments, including the following
administrative, legislative and other measures taken:
(a) Scheduled introduction of habeas corpus provisions beginning 1 January 2008;
(b) Adoption of the law to abolish the death penalty beginning 1 January 2008;
(c) Amendment to article 235 of the Criminal Code, addressing some of the elements
in the definition of torture;
(d) Transfer of the authority to issue arrests warrants from the prosecutor’s office to
the courts (8 August 2005);
(e) Order No. 40, which instructs prosecutors to apply the provisions under the
Convention and applicable national laws directly;
(f) The Supreme Court’s directives to prohibit the introduction of evidence, including
testimonies, obtained under torture, resulting in courts referring “numerous criminal cases back
for further investigation after evidence had been found inadmissible.” Continue reading »