As partners of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, the United States, the European Union and EU member states should work to persuade the governments of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to end their use of forced labor, including by taking the following steps:
Urge the governments of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to end forced labor, in all diplomatic exchanges and through the vigorous use of public diplomacy.
Support human rights defenders (HRDs) in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, including by raising concerns about ill-treatment against them at the highest levels of the Uzbek and Turkmen governments, meeting with HRDs, and publicly expressing concerns when people are harassed for conducting human rights work.
Investigate and prosecute domestic companies that are violating international an national laws by benefiting from or contributing to the forced labor systems of cotton production in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Prevent the trade of products made with forced labor, including cotton from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
Exclude cotton from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan from benefiting from trade preference programs, including the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), until each government ends its forced-labor system of cotton production.
Exercise ‘voice and vote’ at the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and other international finance institutions to prevent any investment that would benefit the Uzbek or Turkmen governments' forced-labor systems for cotton production.
Publicly communicate to companies operating in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan the importance of fulfilling their human rights due diligence responsibilities, as established in the United Nations Principles for Business and Human Rights and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Prior to providing development assistance to the agriculture sectors in Uzbekistan or Turkmenistan, require the government to begin to dismantle its forced-labor system of production and to make demonstrable progress as a condition for releasing project finance.
CONTACT: Cotton Campaign Coordinator - c/o International Labor Rights Forum, 1634 I Street NW, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20006. +1 202-347-4100, cottoncampaigncoordinator [at] gmail.com