Uzbekistan: Activists say Ammofos-Maxam & Maxam-Chirchiq implicated in deaths related to forced labour in cotton sector

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Ammofos-Maxam & Maxam-Chirchiq to respond to allegations that the companies are implicated in tragic deaths related to forced labour in Uzbekistan's cotton sector. The companies did not respond. 

We later invited companies' reported shareholders, Maxam and Uzkimyosanoat, to respond. The companies did not respond. 

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19 February 2019

Maxam did not respond

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Автор: Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights

On behalf of the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF), I am writing to draw your attention to the systemic use of forced labour by the Uzbek-Spanish joint ventures Maxam-Chirchiq and Ammofos-Maxam, located respectively in the cities of Chirchiq and Almalyk in the Tashkent region of Uzbekistan...Our research has found that forced labour at Maxam-Chirchiq and Ammofos-Maxam is not limited to picking cotton. In the summer of 2018, 120 employees of Maxam-Chirchiq were forced to go to the city of Akhangaran every day (located 82 km from Chirchiq) to work on demolishing buildings and clearing construction waste...We are aware of two deaths of employees of Maxam-Chirchiq and Ammofos-Maxam related to work in the cotton fields during the harvests of 2014 and 2018...In light of these tragic events we are calling for: • An independent investigation into the use of forced labour at both Maxam-Chirchiq and Ammofos-Maxam and that the findings of the investigation are made public; • Measures to be implemented that prevent the use of forced labour of employees of companies in future; • Meetings with the families of the deceased to agree payment of appropriate compensation for their losses.

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Автор: Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights

Every year, employees from Maxam-Chirchiq and Ammofos-Maxam are forcibly sent to pick cotton for up to two months. This often involves living and working in inappropriate conditions, away from their families, with inadequate food, water and sanitary facilities. Employees risk dismissal from their jobs for refusal to pick cotton and many who speak to journalists and human rights activists are unwilling to reveal their names for fear of reprisals by their employers...Employees of Maxam-Chirchiq and Ammofos-Maxam have been forcibly mobilised to harvest cotton every autumn for many years and takes place under orders of the Government of Uzbekistan. We are aware of two deaths of employees of Maxam-Chirchiq and Ammofos-Maxam related to work in the cotton fields during the harvests of 2014 and 2018.

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