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10 Mar 2022

The Cotton Campaign

Uzbekistan: Cotton Campaign ends call for global boycott of Uzbek cotton after investigation finds no evidence of central government-imposed forced labour

"Cotton Campaign Ends its Call for a Global Boycott of Cotton from Uzbekistan", 10 March 2021

The Cotton Campaign today announced it ends its call for a global boycott of Uzbek cotton. The announcement comes as Uzbek Forum for Human Rights...releases its report finding no central government-imposed forced labor in the 2021 harvest. 

This historic achievement comes after years of persistent engagement by Uzbek activists, international advocates, and multinational brands, together with a commitment by the government of Uzbekistan to end its use of forced labor. The Cotton Campaign, a global coalition of human rights, labor, responsible investor, and business organizations, encourages responsible sourcing from the country, to ensure the reforms continue to benefit Uzbek workers, farmers, and civil society...

Although Uzbek Forum’s report found that cotton was harvested without systematic state-imposed forced labor, the monitors found cases of coercion and interference by local authorities, as well as individual cases of forced labor. In addition, independent groups that conduct field level monitoring and capacity building are unable to register and operate freely, putting progress at risk.

 Given repressive policies that limit freedom of association in Uzbekistan, and supply chain practices that have contributed to eroding labor standards in garment producing countries around the world, both the Uzbek government and brands must take the next steps to ensure not only the end of forced labor but also to support workers’ rights as the industry is poised to grow....

The Cotton Campaign urges all brands that are interested to begin sourcing from Uzbekistan to conduct human rights due diligence to ensure labor rights are respected at all stages of production, including the cotton farms, spinners, fabric mills, and manufacturing units, and that there are credible, independent mechanisms in place for forced labor prevention, monitoring, grievance, and remedy.