EU Special Representative for Central Asia: Urge the Uzbek government to invite the ILO to monitor the cotton harvest
Today, the Cotton Campaign called on Patricia Flor, EU Special Representative for Central Asia, to urge the government of Uzbekistan to invite the International Labour Organisation to conduct unfettered monitoring of the cotton harvest this autumn. The letter is available here.
Following on from President Barroso’s discussions with President Karimov on this issue in January 2011, and given the focus on children’s rights in the newly adopted EU global Human Rights Strategic Framework, Ms. Flor’s recent appointment as EU Special Representative to Central Asia presents a renewed opportunity to convey the message that the government of Uzbekistan needs to abide by its international commitments to end forced labour. For ILO monitoring to proceed during this year’s harvest, the Uzbek government needs to expedite an official invitation to the ILO in early August, immediately following her visit.
If the Uzbek government invites the ILO to conduct technical assistance monitoring of the 2012 cotton harvest, it would be the very minimum first step towards ending the state-sponsored forced labor of children and adults in the cotton sector. As reported in this memo, the Cotton Campaign recommends that ILO technical assistance monitoring, if it occurs, should include: active participation of civil society, disclosure of the monitoring reports to the Committee of Experts and made available to the public, unfettered access to all parts of Uzbekistan, throughout the entirety of the cotton harvest and without prior announcement, scheduling or other forms of advance notice of visits, and specific investigation and reporting on the root cause of identified forced labor of children and adults.