In the News

US urged to downgrade Uzbekistan in trafficking report


The US apparel and footwear industry has urged its government to downgrade Uzbekistan to the lowest tier in its upcoming trafficking report in response to the country's continued use of forced labour in its cotton harvests.

A report submitted by the Cotton Campaign to support the calls has been endorsed by a group of 36 industry associations, brands, and labour and retail groups, including the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).

BJ's Wholesale Club Pledges Support to Help End Forced Labor in Uzbekistan

3BL Media
WESTBOROUGH, Mass., January 27, 2016 /3BL Media/ - BJ’s Wholesale Club, Inc., continues its opposition on the use of forced labor by joining over 200 other brands and companies in signing the Cotton Pledge, managed by the Responsible Sourcing Network (RSN). Under this pledge, BJ’s has agreed to not knowingly source Uzbek cotton for the manufacturing of any of its products until the Government of Uzbekistan ends the practice of forced labor in its cotton sector.

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.