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Retailers such as Nike and Macy’s Boycott Cotton from Uzbekistan to Protest Child Labor

BY KATHRYN KATTALIA

DAILY NEWS WRITER

Daniel Acker

Retailers including Walmart and Macy’s have signed a pledge to not use cotton from Uzbekistan until the country stops using forced child labor.

Retailers are going crazy for cotton — but not in a good way.

Superstores Walmart and Macy’s have joined up with  such big names  as Liz Claiborne, Nike, Eileen Fisher and Nautica to sign a pledge boycotting the use of cotton from Uzbekistan, WWD reported.

They are among the first companies to team up with the nonprofit group Responsible Sourcing Network to demand that the country stop using forced child labor to harvest its cotton crop. Read more

Uzbekistan Weekly Roundup

by Catherine A. Fitzpatrick [From Eurasia.Net]

The annual meeting of the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) proved to be a forum for a serious and methodical condemnation of Uzbekistan’s failure to eliminate the use of forced child labor in the cotton industry. Prior to the meeting, the ILO’s Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations prepared a exhaustive report based on the testimony of non-governmental groups as well as UN agencies, notably UNICEF, detailing the state-sponsored practice of removing students from school to work in the fields, and threatening them and their parents for failure to comply with orders of local administrators to meet quotas. The Committee noted that Uzbekistan had failed to submit reports about compliance and failed to implement the two conventions signed on the worst forms of child labor.

On June 6, the ILO’s Committee on Application of Standards then discussed the Experts’ report. As a result of ongoing concerns about forced child labor in Uzbekistan, the ILO Committee was set to include a paragraph in its conclusions that would flag Uzbekistan as an egregious case of violations of ILO conventions. Uzbekistan sent Botir Alimukhamedov, first deputy minister of labour and social protection to the ILO meeting, along with the smooth-talking Akmal Saidov, director of the National Human Rights Centre, who is dispatched to every international meeting to refute criticism of Uzbekistan’s human rights record. Read more

World Bank Responds to Criticism on Uzbek Report

[From Eurasianet.org]

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Reports from the Uzbekistan Cotton Harvest 2010

From: Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights [mailto:cotton.harvest.uzbekistan@googlemail.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 4:40 PM


Issue 5, October 12, 2010

Context: Forced Child labour is an endemic and widespread practice in the cotton industry of Uzbekistan.  According to experts, between 1.5 and 2 million schoolchildren between ages 10-16 are forced by the local authorities to pick cotton each harvest season from September until the end of November. This practice has been in place and almost unchanged since the Stalin era. Observers claim that forced child labor is orchestrated by the Uzbek central government, which in turn, denies its responsibility for it.

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