Dilarom Juraev was twenty-eight years old and six months pregnant when she began participating in this year's cotton harvest. She was told that unless she picked cotton, she would not be given the standard Uzbek child allowance once the baby was born. Just hours into the first day, she lost her baby after beginning to miscarry in the fields.
“In the morning we were taken to the fields by. We started to pick cotton, and after a short time Dilarom was in labor. Hearing this, the chiefs started panicking. Consequently the chairman brought Dilarom to the district hospital with his car. According to what we heard, Dilarom’s conditions were serious, and the doctors sent her to the regional hospital. When they arrived at the hospital the woman has had a miscarriage. They said it was a boy. After hearing what had happened, her mother-in-law cried a lot. The woman said that she was prepared for celebrating beshik-toyu (celebration devoted to the birth of the child – Ed.). Dilarom left the hospital on the same day, and the body of the baby was brought home. The woman has already been discharged from the hospital, and she is at home now” – said one of the residents of the Zarbdar district in an unrecorded interview with our radio reporter.
Dilarom lost her child on the very first day she picked cotton during the harvest. Although officials continue to claim that her participation was voluntary, reports from community members and those in the vicinity of the incident contradict those claims.
“Near Ismail gathered local police officers and representatives of the Khokimiyat. In total there were five of them. They said that every family had to send at least one person to the fields. They said it was an order from “above” and that everyone was obliged to follow it. These officials told mothers receiving child benefits that they would not receive any more money if they did not pick cotton” – told one source living in the Mustaqillik.
Uzbek authorities have denied responsibility for this tragedy, and paid a personal visit to Dilarom's family to pressure them to hold the government blameless as well. Though authorities in the region have suspended sending pregnant women to the fields since this incident, we are still receiving numerous reports from across the country that young mothers are threatened with losing their child benefits if they do not pick their cotton quota.
Information and Translated provided by Uzbek-German Forum