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8 Apr 2019

Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF)

Uzbekistan: New NGO report exposes government’s reliance on major state-owned companies to supply cotton pickers for 2018 harvest

"They said we wouldn’t have to pick and now they send us to the fields – Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s 2018 Cotton Harvest", 4 April 2019

On September 26, 24-year-old Sohibjon Mutalibov, an employee of Ammofos-Maxam, one of the largest mineral fertilizer producers in Uzbekistan, was sent to pick cotton in the Dustlik district in the Jizzakh region. Ten days later, he died as a result of a fight with a local resident who fractured his skull...Mutalibov had worked at Ammofos-Maxam, a joint Uzbek-Spanish company and part of the national chemical conglomerate Uzkimyosanoat, for five years and each autumn had been sent by his employer to pick cotton. The chairman of the board of Uzkimyosanoat signed an order on September 25, directing eight subsidiary companies, including Ammofos-Maxam, to send a total of 6,000 employees to pick cotton in the Dustlik district in Jizzakh, and to arrange their transportation, food, and accommodation...The story of Ammofos-Maxam’s involvement in the cotton harvest also exposes the government’s reliance on major national enterprises, businesses, and organizations, not only to supply thousands of employees as pickers, but also to bear the costs of their transportation, food, and accommodation during the harvest.