Please Join Our Protest Against Forced Child Labor in Uzbekistan, Monday, March 11

The Child Labor Coalition and the Cotton Campaign are seeking your help:

Stop Forced Labor, Forced Child Labor and Human Rights Abuses in Uzbekistan During the Uzbekistan Foreign Minister’s visit to Washington, DC

March 11, 2013, 12 – 1 PM EST, at the Embassy of Uzbekistan in Washington, Massachusetts Ave. near Dupont Circle (1746 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington, DC 20036)

Every year for decades, the government of Uzbekistan has forced millions of children and adults – teachers, nurses, doctors, public servants and private sector employees – to pick cotton under appalling conditions. Those who refuse are expelled from school, fired from their jobs, denied public benefits or worse. The government combines these penalties
with threats, detains and harasses Uzbek activists seeking to monitor the situation, and continues to refuse the International Labor Organization’s access to monitor the harvest. Uzbekistan is one of the largest cotton producing countries in the world, and cotton harvested there by forced labor finds its way into the U.S. apparel industry.

Modern-day slavery in the cotton fields persists as long as Uzbek citizens are denied fundamental human rights. Under the rule of long-time President Islam Karimov, torture is an enduring problem in Uzbekistan’s detention facilities, journalists and human rights defenders are imprisoned for legitimate civil society activism, and religious practice is
persecuted. Gulshan Karaeva, Uktam Pardaev and Elena Urlaeva were among the victims of harassment and arrest for attempting to document the 2012 cotton harvest.

Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov is visiting Washington, DC to seek increased support from the U.S. Congress and the Executive for the government of Uzbekistan. Join us outside the Uzbek Embassy to call for an end of forced labor and human rights abuses as conditions for support from the American people. When political change inevitably comes to Uzbekistan, the Uzbek people will remember if the United States did everything it could to help end their servitude.