The Cotton Campaign welcomes the decision of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a law enforcement agency of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, to issue a Withhold Release Order (WRO), formally banning the importation of “all Turkmenistan cotton or products produced in whole or in part with Turkmenistan cotton.”
24 April 2018 the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination held an informal meeting with civil society representatives from Kyrgyzstan, Peru and Saudi Arabia, whose reports will be considered by the Committee this week.
The Arthur Svensson International Prize for Trade Union Rights this 2018 is awarded to the Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan, represented by Larisa Kharkova, Nurbek Kushakbaev and Amin Eleusinov. Trade Union leaders and activists of Kazakhstan face severe repression in due to their involvement with trade unions rights, and the rights of the working people in their country.
On April 21, the issue of forced labor among teaching professionals was discussed live on Uzbekistan’s main television channel. Speakers discussed a conference which took place on April 17, during which Prime Minister Abdulla Aripov severely chastised ministers of education and public health for forcing doctors and teachers to pick cotton, scrap metal, clean streets and carry out other “public” activities not related to their work.
The President of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Shavkat Mirziyoyev, claimed that he is perfectly aware of the real situation in the regions and said that putting everything in order before his visits does more harm than good. The President threatened hokims [ed. – local governors] with severe consequences for forcing teachers to participate in beautification works and said it amounted to betrayal to force the involvement of employees in the public sector.
The Cotton Campaign welcomes the decision of a court in Uzbekistan to lift the terms of probation for human rights defender Uktam Pardaev 10 months early. Pardaev was arrested on November 16, 2015, following his reporting on forced labor during the 2015 cotton harvest. The Uzbek authorities released Pardaev on January 30, 2016, after convicting him to a 5 years 6 months prison term on fabricated charges, and subsequently changing the sentence to 3 years’ probation. Under probation, Pardaev had to register with the police twice a month, and had to obtain police permission to leave his hometown of Jizzak or leave his home after 10 pm.
The death of a 23-year-old female teacher
She didn’t simply die. She was run over by a Kamaz lorry. A handicraft teacher at school No 42 in Kattakurgan District, 23-year-old Diana Enekeeva (or Inikova, according to first reports) was a victim of forced labor, although some may say it was voluntary.