The Cotton Campaign stands in solidarity with the people of Uzbekistan, as well as Trade Union of Daewoo International, Federation of Korean Textile, Distribution Workers Unions (FKTDWU) and Federation of Korean Trade Unions (FKTU) as they protest Daewoo International today in Busan, South Korea to highlight the use of forced labour of children and adults in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry.
“We support the workers’ demands of responsibility from Daewoo International and Nike. Daewoo International must cease profiting from forced labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan,” stated Matt Fischer-Daly, Cotton Campaign Coordinator. “This should not be at the expense of the rights of workers of the facility in Busan, which is owned by Daewoo and has supplied synthetic materials to Nike for over a decade.”
Since the 1990s, Daewoo has received business benefits from the Uzbek government for maintaining and growing its investment in Uzbekistan. For decades, the Government of Uzbekistan has forced millions of children, teachers, public servants and private sector employees to pick cotton under appalling conditions. Those who refuse are expelled from school, fired from their jobs, and denied public benefits or worse. The Government combines these penalties with threats, and detains and tortures activists seeking to monitor the situation. Uzbek human rights defenders and international partners released a report on the ongoing abuses last month. Since 2012 the Cotton Campaign has called on Daewoo International to meet its human rights due diligence duties by establishing independent monitoring and public reporting of its cotton supply chain in Uzbekistan. We call on Nike and all companies and investors to remove links to companies using Uzbek cotton until the Uzbek government ends forced labor of children and adults in its production.
“While Daewoo refuses to stop profiting from forced labor in Uzbekistan, Nike must end complicity,” said Jon Chul Kim, Advocates for Public Interest Law. “Nike also must act responsibly by working with the Trade Union of Daewoo International, FKTDWU and FKTU to ensure respect for the rights of workers making Nike product in Busan.”
CONTACT: Cotton Campaign Coordinator - C/O International Labor Rights Forum, 1634 Eye Street NW, suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. +1(202) 347-4100, cottoncampaigncoordinator [at] gmail.com