Press Releases

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Uzbek and global activists petition World Bank President to suspend payments

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.

Video of Umida Niyazova, Director of the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights, presenting the petition to the World Bank.

Rights coalition urges European Union to extend yellow card for Thai seafood

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.

Initial Statement Regarding Fire at Matrix Sweaters Factory


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.

H&M suppliers fail on deadlines to address safety hazards


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.

Bangladeshi Workers Report Abuses and Violence Against Those Seeking Change


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.

Three years after Tazreen factory fire Walmart still refuses to pay

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.

RSPO Can’t Be Trusted to Provide Truly Responsible Palm Oil

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.

Faulty RSPO Audit Misses Forced Labor on Palm Oil Plantations

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.”

Uzbekistan: Human Rights Defender’s House Burned Down


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.

H&M Fails to Honor Commitment to Make Fire and Building Safety Repairs in Bangladesh

Workers at supplier factories continue to face deadly hazards

H&M is dramatically behind schedule in correcting the dangers faced by the Bangladeshi workers who produce its clothing, according to a report published today by the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC), International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), Maquila Solidarity Network (MSN), and Worker Rights Consortium (WRC).

Norway Refuses to Assess NBIM’s Financial Link to Forced Labor

NBIM urged to exclude Daewoo International for profiting from forced labor

Six months after receiving a complaint that Norges Bank Investment Management’s holdings of Daewoo International supports forced labor, Norway’s National Contact Point (NCP) for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) decided to close the complaint without further examination.

Kentex Factory Fire: Statement of the fact-finding team


Seventy-two workers, many of whom were women, were burned to death and 20 more are still missing in the biggest factory fire that hit the Philippines – the fire that gutted the factory of Kentex Manufacturing Incorporated last May 13, 2015. The company, located along Tatalon Street in Barangay Ugong in Valenzuela City, manufactures rubber slippers for sale and distribution in various parts of the Philippines.

Uzbek Government Forces Labor & Extorts Funds From Citizens and Companies

New report highlights how the cotton harvest fosters modern day slavery and extortion

In 2014, the government of Uzbekistan forced more than a million of its own citizens to pick cotton, and officials extorted individuals and businesses, including multinational companies, at a larger scale as part of the annual Uzbek cotton harvest, according to a new report released by the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF). 

Uzbek government arrests and deports international labor rights consultant

Action calls into question Tashkent's commitment to international labor rights

(Moscow, March 24, 2015)-  The arrest and expulsion from Uzbekistan of an international labor rights expert raises serious concerns about the government of Uzbekistan’s commitment to international human rights conventions and the feasibility of the World Bank’s agricultural programs in Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan operates what is perhaps the world’s largest state-organized system of forced labor, forcibly mobilizing more than a million of the country’s citizens to pick cotton each fall.