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Article

Uzbekistan: Fair recruitment, effective accountability needed to end forced labor as independent labor monitors harassed, arbitrarily detained

23 June 2020

A new report released today by Uzbek Forum for Human Rights (formerly Uzbek-German Forum / UGF) on the 2019 cotton harvest in Uzbekistan documents both meaningful progress toward ending forced labor and the persistence of government-organized forced labor, said the Cotton Campaign. The report finds that the state-imposed cotton quota, structural labor shortages, the lack of fair and independent recruitment channels, and weak accountability systems contributed to significant ongoing forced labor, including in the newly privatized cotton textile cluster system. Lagging progress on civil society freedoms is also limiting the success of broader reform efforts.

The report, “Tashkent’s Reforms Have Not Yet Reached Us” – Unfinished Work in the Fight Against Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s 2019 Cotton Harvest”, is based on 111 in-depth interviews with people involved in the cotton harvest as well as hundreds of brief interviews, field visits, and farm-level monitoring in six of Uzbekistan’s regions. The report also includes data and analysis from a nation-wide online survey to assess participation and conditions in the harvest, conducted in partnership with the Solidarity Center and RIWI Corp., a public polling/research firm.