Labor and human rights groups at the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) conference this week called for an international investigation of forced child labor in Uzbekistan, the International Labor Rights Forum said in a statement on its website.
The investigation was called for at the ILO annual conference in Geneva by Anti-Slavery International and the International Labor Rights Forum.
"A high-level ILO monitoring mission would be the necessary first step in providing an independent credible assessment of the problem," said the groups' statement.
On the eve of the ILO conference, the Uzbek government hastily came up with several initiatives and statements to the effect that they could monitor their own compliance with their national action plan. At the ILO meeting, the government delegation proposed having a state-controlled trade union monitor the cotton harvest.
The ILO’s Committee on Application of Standards issued a statement on June 8 after a hearing earlier in the week, questioning the credibility of Uzbekistan’s own monitoring proposal and also called for the government to accept a high level ILO monitoring mission.
Speaking in Geneva, Brian Campbell, Policy Director at International Labor Rights Forum, said:
Uzbekistan’s intention to monitor its own harvest for a problem it denies is ludicrous. Such monitoring cannot be considered credible in a country where independent civil society is controlled and critical media muzzled. If the government has nothing to hide then it should allow the ILO access during the harvest.