In the News

U.S. lifted Uzbekistan's rights ranking as cotton field abuses continued

Reuters
12/23/2015
The news reached Dmitry Tihonov in Uzbekistan's rural heartland as the labor activist quietly recorded the arrival of thousands of teachers, nurses, laborers, students and other conscripts sent to the fields to pick cotton.
 
A fire had destroyed Tihonov’s home office. When he returned to search the debris on Oct. 29, his reports for international monitors documenting the annual mobilization had vanished.
 

US Government Caught Downplaying Forced Labor in Uzbekistan

teleSUR
12/23/2015
Experts at the U.S. State Department said Uzbekistan had “failed to make significant and sustained efforts” to address “endemic” forced labor in its cotton industry, but senior officials disregarded their testimony and instead claimed progress was being made, the Reuters news agency revealed Wednesday.
 
Uzbekistan is a close U.S. ally, with NATO using the country to ship supplies to its forces in neighboring Afghanistan. The most populous nation in Central Asia, the country has been ruled by dictator Islam Karimov since 1990.
 

World Bank loans to Uzbekistan questioned after ILO findings

Ecotextile
12/22/2015

A leading NGO is calling on the World Bank to suspend two loans it provided to Uzbekistan for agricultural projects after an International Labour Organisation (ILO) report found the Uzbek authorities violated their contractual commitment to it by using forced labour during the cotton picking season.

(Continue reading the article on the original website here...)

'When We Made Mistakes in Our Sewing, They Slapped Us'

The Nation
12/21/2015
Over two years after one of the worst industrial accidents in recent memory, Bangladesh’s garment workers are “safer” now—or so they’ve been told. So why do they still go to work afraid?
 
Two years after labor and industry groups brokered a hard-won pact to improve factory safety, the Bangladesh Accord, most of the industry appears to be failing basic safety benchmarks. Although the Bangladeshi government has enacted policies expanding labor oversight and facilitating unionization in factories, day-to-day working conditions remain abysmal.
 

Bangladeshi Workers Struggle Against Climate of Fear, Intimidation

Ecouterre
12/21/2015

The deadly collapse of Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza factory building may have sparked a flurry of fire and building-safety reforms, but garment workers continue to struggle to be heard, according to a new report by the International Labor Rights Forum, a nonprofit advocacy organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. Drawing from interviews with more than 70 people, Our Voices, Our Safety: Bangladeshi Garment Workers Speak Out depicts a “chilling web” of intimidation and violence that spans the South Asian country’s billion-dollar apparel industry.

While Women's Wallets Are Heard, Apparel Workers Are Restrained by a Web of Violence

Huffington Post
12/17/2015
During the holiday shopping season, women's opinions matter: we account for 80% of consumer spending in the United States. A new report, Our Voices, Our Safety, published this week by my organization, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), describes how women garment workers in Bangladesh - who account for 80% of the apparel industry workforce there - are unable to speak up at all or make their voices heard when they feel unsafe or unfairly treated.

ILRF Says Labor Abuses Still Rampant in Bangladesh

Sourcing Journal Online
12/14/2015

Reform efforts have been underway in Bangladesh's ready-made garment industry this year, but those efforts could prove futile if workers can't voice their ongoing concerns.

According to a new International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) report, fire, electrical, and structural safety are undoubtedly vital, but so too is hearing from workers about conditions on the job.

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