WORLD BANK: STOP financing UZBEK COTTON forced labourWatch: forced labour in Uzbekistan's cotton industry explained in two minutes
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The World Bank is funding projects worth about 500 million US dollars in Uzbekistan’s agricultural sector. One of the main crops produced there is cotton, and it is harvested by hundreds of thousands of Uzbek citizens forced into cotton fields by their own government as part of one of the world’s largest state-run forced labour systems.
The World Bank has made a commitment to end its contract with the government of Uzbekistan if forced labour is found in its project areas.
Independent civil society monitors have already documented multiple reports of people forced to pick cotton in these areas. To keep these monitors quiet, Uzbekistan’s authoritarian government has launched a string of violent attacks, subjecting civil society monitors to body cavity searches, beatings, detention, surveillance and intimidation.
However, so far the World Bank has refused to do anything about it.
Anti-Slavery International alongside the partners from the Cotton Campaign coalition delivered the petition to the World Bank on the 9 March. The representative of the World Bank condemned forced labour, although he stopped short of committing to withdraw the funding to Uzbekistan.
Big thanks to all who signed the petition asking the World Bank to stop the Uzbek funding.
You can read the full story here: Global activists petition World Bank to stop financing Uzbek forced labour.
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