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