Continued Forced Labor in Uzbekistan May Lead to Child Exploitation: Expert Group
As the cotton harvest season opens this year in Uzbekistan, human rights activists fear that a long-existing climate of coercion will inevitably lead to the exploitation of children, the Experts Working Group of Uzbekistan reported.
In a statement for the press issued September 4 in Russian, Sukhrobjon Ismoilov, coordinator of the Expert Working Group of Uzbekistan, said that due to a policy of imposing state quotas and requiring compulsory labor of state workers, the Uzbek government is likely to fail to prevent forced child labor in the cotton fields this year despite making commitments to do so under international agreements.
In 2008, Uzbekistan signed the International Labor Organization (ILO) convention barring child labor and also revised domestic legislature to ban such exploitation. Officials also launched a national program to prevent child labor.
Yet the practice is likely to continue as farmers and parents once again face great pressures under threat of loss of leases or employment to bring in the harvest according to the government's plan.
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