Today, the Cotton Campaign asked the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-moon to express concern to the government of Uzbekistan about the its use of mass forced labor and to urge officials in Tashkent to end the practice.
The UN Secretary General will visit Uzbekistan next week, as part of a visit to all countries in the Central Asia region.
As conveyed in the Cotton Campaign letter to the Secretary General, the Uzbek government has operated one of the largest state-orchestrated systems of forced labor in the world for decades. As an essential element of its coercive system of cotton production, the government of Uzbekistan represses the rights of citizens reporting human rights concerns. The UN Human Rights Council, Committee on the Rights of the Child, and Committee Against Torture have all reported concerns of forced labor and child labor and urged the Uzbek government to end the practice, and the UN Human Rights Committee has raised serious concern to the Uzbek government about its ill treatment of people who report on human rights.
36 businesses, business associations, human rights organizations, investors and trade unions from 9 countries signed the letter, calling on the Secretary General to use his unique capacity to urge the Uzbek government to end forced labor and to fulfill its international human rights commitments.
Read the letter here.