Cards on the table: we thought long and hard at turkmen.news about publishing the contents of this letter to us for fear of harming the author. There are plenty of examples in Turkmenistan of a complainant to state bodies or human rights organizations abroad being punished rather than the target of the complaint. In order to minimize the risk of punishment we have decided not only to publish the story, but also to report the situation to the International Labor Organization, International Trade Union Confederation, and human rights organizations.
Blind workers at the “CHYOTKA” training and production enterprise in Tashkent which belongs to the Society of the Blind of Uzbekistan are complaining of meagre wages and unemployment. The situation in the labour market of Uzbekistan is further exacerbated by the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic and related quarantine measures. Disabled people are now experiencing an even higher level of unemployment, which can lead to poverty reports a local journalist Dana Oparina at Anhor.uz.
Protesting employees of Severelectro OJSC demand from the Chairman of the National Energy Holding, Aitmamat Nazarov, to come out to them for a dialogue. About 70 fitters and electricians of the company took part in a protest because of their disagreement with the appointment of the new director of the company Ulan Astarkulov.
On October 15, the president Shavkat Mirziyoyev signed a new law “On the rights of persons with disabilities”. What measures must be taken so that it does not repeat the fate of the previous law – “On social protection of disabled people” – and really protects their rights and interests? Together with Oybek Isakov, Chairperson of the Association of Disabled People of Uzbekistan (an umbrella NGO uniting 28 public organisations of/for disabled people) we published an article in Russian at Gazeta.uz.
For the tenth consecutive year, Uzbek Forum for Human Rights has independently monitored forced labor during the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan. The harvest in 2020 is taking place amidst the significant challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also important policy developments, such as the nearly complete transfer of the cotton production system to private cotton textile clusters and the abolition of state cotton quotas, as well as existing issues such as the continued lack of independent recruitment channels.
Uzbekistan is a country in transition. In recent years, the Uzbek government eliminated state-sponsored forced child labor in the cotton harvest, and then committed in 2017 to eliminate forced adult labor. The government has made significant progress toward achieving that commitment, including increasing cotton picking wages and enacting measures to abolish government production quotas for cotton.
Members of the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) – a network of human rights NGOs from across Europe, the former Soviet Union and North America – express our support and solidarity with Kyrgyzstan’s civil society in its efforts to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law at this time of political crisis and upheaval in the Central Asian country. We call on the authorities of Kyrgyzstan, as well as on all the groups staking claims on power to opt for dialogue and cooperation, refrain from violence, and act strictly within the framework of national and international law with a view to overcoming the current uncertainty, power struggles and threats of lawlessness and to continuing the course of democratic development.