Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan downgraded in annual anti-trafficking report
Today the US State Department gave the governments of both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan well-deserved downgrades to Tier 3, the lowest possible ranking, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Both governments continue to coercively mobilize citizens to grow and harvest cotton each year in two of the world’s largest remaining systems of state-sponsored forced labor.
Правительство Узбекистана насильно содержало Елену в поликлинике более чем месяц
После более чем месяца насильственного содержания в Ташкентской городской клинической психиатрической больнице, узбекскую правозащитницу Елену Урлаеву все же выпустили 1-го Июня. Елена Урлаева, глава местной правозащитной группы «Правозащитный альянс Узбекистана», добровольно зарегистрировалась в больнице 9-го Марта. Когда пришло время для выписки в конце Апреля, сотрудники клиники отказались ее выпустить сославшись на официальные указания «сверху», таким образом превратив ее больничную палату в тюремную камеру.
The government of Uzbekistan should immediately release activist Elena Urlaeva from the Tashkent City Psychiatric Clinic, said the Cotton Campaign today. Urlaeva, a well-known activist and the elected leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (PAU), checked into the hospital on March 9 after experiencing multiple traumatic events. In late April, Urlaeva’s doctor informed her and her son that she was in good health and would be released on May 2.
As H&M shareholders prepare to meet in Sweden tomorrow, the Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network, and Worker Rights Consortium have released a report showing that the majority of H&M’s Bangladeshi supplier factories are still not safe.
Today, at a briefing on Capitol Hill, Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Jan Schakowsky introduced a resolution expressing that the United States should support and protect “the right of women working in developing countries to safe workplaces, free from gender-based violence, reprisals, and intimidation.” The bicameral resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patty Murray, cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown, Ed Markey, and Barbara Mikulski.
Labor rights groups in Europe, Bangladesh and North America are today launching a call for consumers to participate in a global day of action on May 3rd. The protests, which will coincide with H&M’s 2016 Annual General Meeting in Solna, Sweden, will demand H&M finally keep its promises to make its Bangladeshi supplier factories safe.
Formal Complaint Filed Today Under the Tariff Act of 1930
(Washington, DC) - Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) and International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), partners in the Cotton Campaign, today filed a formal complaint against the importation of cotton goods from Turkmenistan, all of which are made with forced labor. Under the recently amended Tariff Act of 1930, U.S. Customs is required to deny entry to goods that arrive at U.S. ports that contain materials made with forced labor.
On March 16th and 17th, 2016, members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent letters to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on two separate cases that illustrate the dangers faced by Honduran labor and human rights defenders.
New report documents state-led forced labor in 2015 cotton harvest within World Bank project areas in Uzbekistan
(March 9, 2016, Washington, DC): Today Uzbek civil society activists and more than 140,000 people from around the world presented a petition to World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, calling on the Bank to suspend lending to the agriculture sector in Uzbekistan until the Uzbek government changes its policy of forced labor in the cotton industry.
More progress is needed to ensure human rights are respected groups say
A coalition of nearly 30 labor, environmental and human rights organizations sent a letter to the European Commission on Feb. 17 asking it to extend for at least another six months. The letter asks the Committee to take human rights into account when assessing Thailand’s seafood sector.
The Clean Clothes Campaign, the International Labor Rights Forum, the Maquila Solidarity Network, and the Worker Rights Consortium are deeply disturbed to hear of another serious fire breaking out at a garment factory in Bangladesh – the factory supplies H&M and JC Penney, according to public records. The fire service is reporting that some injuries were sustained, but no details have been provided to date.
As Swedish fashion giant H&M prepares to announce a predicted increase in their profits for 2015, labor rights groups are calling on the company to do more to protect garment workers in Bangladesh, after a review of H&M’s strategic suppliers shows that severe delays in carrying out urgent and vital building repairs continue to leave tens of thousands of workers at risk of death and injury.
New interviews with Bangladeshi garment workers make clear that a climate of fear and intimidation prevails in the country’s industry, two and a half years after the Rana Plaza building collapse and the launch of the first industrial reform programs to address the pervasive fire and structural hazards in Bangladeshi garment factories.
New claims process established for the victims of the Tazreen fire; Brands called upon to pay into Fund before the November 24 anniversary
The Clean Clothes Campaign and the International Labor Rights Forum are today calling on international brands, including Walmart and El Corte Ingles, to contribute to a fund established to make payments to the families of the 112 workers killed and those permanently injured in a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh.
On November 16, police in Jizzak city, Uzbekistan, arrested Uktam Pardaev, a human rights defender, in apparent retaliation for his documentation of the Uzbek government’s use of forced labor in the cotton sector. The arrest is the latest in a series of increasingly frequent and severe reprisals against human rights defenders in Uzbekistan.
Key gaps in labor standards and enforcement leave palm oil workers vulnerable to exploitation
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - At the opening of the annual meeting of the palm oil industry certification system, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), in Kuala Lumpur, a group of international, Malaysian and Indonesian environmental and labor rights organizations are calling on the RSPO to fix significant gaps in its monitoring and enforcement of labor standards.
International coalition finds audit “troubling” and calls for improvements to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil system and for FELDA customers and financiers to independently investigate forced labor and human trafficking
San Francisco, CA – In the wake of serious reports of modern day slavery, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)––the palm oil industry certification system––recently released an audit report assessing compliance for three estates of RSPO-member, and Malaysian palm oil giant, FELDA. The audit found several major issues with FELDA operations, which would put the palm oil grower in non-compliance with the RSPO standard, resulting in a “fundamental failure to achieve the objective of the relevant RSPO requirements.”
Today, October 29, human rights defender Dmitry Tihonov returned to his home to find the office in his home burned down, the door sealed, and property stolen from rooms untouched by the fire. Mr. Tihonov had been staying with friends since the police in Angren brought disorderly conduct charges against him on October 20. The trumped up charges, which carry a fine or up to 15 days in detention, and fire, which has all signs of intentionality, have forced Mr.