In the News

UN Finds Nepeskuliev's Imprisonment Arbitrary, Calls For Release

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has found the deprivation of liberty of Turkmen journalist and activist Saparmamed Nepeskuliev to be arbitrary.
The WGAD opinion was issued on December 2, 2015 in response to a petition filed by Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN). ATN claimed that the criminal case against Nepeskuliev was fabricated and was directly related to his work as a reporter.

Nestle is being sued for allegedly using child slaves on cocoa farms

The Independent

Nestle SA has lost its bid to throw out a court case which has accused it of using child labourers for its chocolate products.

The US Supreme Court has rejected the appeal from Nestle and two other companies to dismiss the lawsuit which was left in place by the high court in December 2014, according to Reuters...

Abby McGill, campaign director from the International Labour Rights Forum, which originally filed the lawsuit, told The Independent: “We have fought for a long time to bring accountability to supply chains and to bring redress for the victims.”

Workers Fired At Mexico Plant Stake Their Ground On Union Rights

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — “This is a difficult Christmas. It is very sad,” Maria Duran said, tears welling in her eyes.
Rather than spending Christmas Eve with her husband and four children in their small home in Juarez’s southeastern edge, Maria was sitting inside a makeshift shelter at the gates of a factory that belongs to her former employer, Lexmark.

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

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

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


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.

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

The Nation
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


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.