In the News

Uzbeks Reportedly Forced to Glue Cotton Back Onto Bushes to Please Prime Minister

Vice News
Amid a sustained human rights campaign to end the mass forced labor surrounding Uzbekistan's annual cotton harvest, farmers in the eastern province of Ferghana are saying that they were enlisted to reattach picked cotton onto the bolls of bushes to feign a picturesque snowy-white landscape ahead of an anticipated visit by the country's prime minister, Shavkat Mirzayev.

Uzbekistan: Cotton Harvest Monitors Face Intimidation

Uzbekistan has pledged more transparency in a cotton industry blighted by a reputation for relying on child labor and press-ganging of unwilling individuals. Yet, authorities are hounding those trying to determine whether the government is keeping its word.
Doctors, teachers and even pop stars are among the hundreds of thousands of citizens believed to have been forced into the fields this year. But documenting the scale of the problem has been tough.

Turkmenistan: Wheat Harvest and Cotton-Picking Going Poorly

It is something of a myth that state media in closed countries with ever-active domestic propaganda machines, such as Turkmenistan, project only optimism and radiance.
The president of Turkmenistan is rarely even remotely happy with his government’s work, and it is the state of agriculture that has raised his hackles this time around.
Speaking at his weekly Monday videoconference with regional leaders, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov on October 12 tore strips off various provincial chiefs.

10 Ways H&M Is Spinning the Facts on Worker Safety in Bangladesh


Earlier this month, four labor groups—the International Labor Rights Forum, Clean Clothes Campaign, Worker Rights Consortium, and Maquila Solidarity Network—all of which were witness signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, released a report evaluating H&M's compliance with safety action plans for its strategic suppliers in Bangladesh. In response, H&M has posted two public statements, as well as responses to individual activists on Twitter and Facebook. In this post, the authors behind the report take on H&M’s spin and clarify the truth.

Uzbeks Unpick Cotton To Please No-Show PM

Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty
In Central Asia, officials often go to great lengths trying to impress visiting presidents or dignitaries, giving them an exaggerated impression of success and happiness.
Regional officials in Uzbekistan's eastern Ferghana Province recently took it a step further.
Local farmers say they were ordered to glue white tufts of cotton back onto their bolls to give an impression of a bountiful harvest of the country's key crop ahead of an expected visit by Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyaev.

Why the TPP Won't Work for Workers

The Nation
 The signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership just announced that they have inked the final agreement, ending years of secret negotiations and back-room corporate deal making. And still, the full text, which will set trade rules for roughly 40 percent of global commerce in a dozen Pacific Rim countries, remains a secret, even as the accord hurtles toward Congress for an accelerated vote.

H&M Supplier Factories in Bangladesh Behind in Safety Fixes: Report

NBC News
H&M is "dramatically behind schedule" in fixing the dangers found in the factories of its Bangladeshi suppliers, according to a new report.
H&M was one of more than 200 brands, including Adidas and Abercrombie & Fitch, who signed an accord to improve safety conditions in factories in Bangladesh after the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 killed more than 1,100 people.

Most of H&M's "best" factories in Bangladesh still don't have working fire exits

Quartz India
Factory fires pose one of the greatest dangers to Bangladesh’s garment workers.
After the 2013 factory collapse at Rana Plaza, more than 200 clothing brands from around the world signed a binding commitment to create (pdf) a Bangladeshi garment industry “in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures.”