A modest proposal: if international organizations feel incapable of speaking out against Uzbekistan's state-sponsored child exploitation (can't damage that all-important mandate, can we?), at the very least they should be able to avoid promoting it. Can we agree?
Unfortunately this seems like too much to ask. The World Bank has decided to devote this year's small grants program, intended to develop Uzbek NGOs, to the topic of "creating conditions for upbringing healthy and harmoniously developed generation, and realization of the young people’s creative and intellectual potential"--yes, the government's own propaganda theme for 2010, expressly intended to obscure its annual mass child mobilization. The deadline for the competition is next week, so it will be interesting to see what projects are actually funded.
Institutionally, the Bank seems to have very little to say on the matter of child labor. On a web-page headed "child labor" it describes its partnership with UNICEF and the ILO on a research project called the Understanding Children's Work initiative, that seems to have more to do with promoting youth employment than with stopping child exploitation:
The primary areas of focus for the partnership are Africa and the Middle East, as well as Latin America. The partnership works together on several projects designed to better understand the determinants of youth labor market outcomes, to learn what works to promote youth employability, and to promote evidence-based policy debate and coordination.
The Bank's materials on Uzbekistan make little or no mention of the problem, including a 2005 research report that explicitly deals with the subsidy and taxation policy (including labor and income taxes) that structure the current system of cotton-growing, which completely ignored the massive subsidy inherent in the forced mobilization of low- or no-cost child labor. And, like the ADB, World Bank officials just can't get enough of Uzbekistan, it seems: its new country manager there, Loup Brefort, has been quoted extolling results in the country, and announcing 150 million euros worth of new projects.