Freedom House is distributing a report compiled by a group of Uzbekistani human rights defenders reviewing the country's human rights record in the last year. Disturbingly, the authors elected to remain anonymous so as not to risk repercussions. The climate for honest reporting and analysis continues to worsen, evidently.
The report's main conclusion: the government is talking more, passing more good-looking laws, and its message is getting more polished. But its citizens are experiencing just as many abuses, and when they do, they have no more (or even less) recourse than before. In discussions of the introduction of habeas corpus, the death penalty abolition, and bar association "reform," the authors found identical trends.
One of the report's sections deals with the cotton harvest, and it makes for disturbing reading. It describes at least seven deaths, and children as young as six forced out to the fields. Children who were absent were fined (as much as $2.00/day!) as were those who didn't meet their daily quotas. The report doesn't say in which provinces or districts these conditions were prevalent, but whereever they occured, the results for children are bad.
Read the report here: http://www.freedomhouse.org/uploads/features/HumanRights2008Review.pdf