Uzbekistan: German Rights Official Criticizes Tashkent’s Reliance on Child Labor
In a landmark statement coming from a European official, Markus Löning, Germany’s federal commissioner for human rights, has demanded that Uzbekistan cease using child labor in harvesting cotton, and has called for inspections to be carried out by the International Organization of Labor (ILO).
Uzbekistan has come under increasing pressure in recent years for its continuing reliance on forced child labor to help gather the country’s all-important cash crop, cotton. Tashkent is a signatory to two ILO pacts, known as Convention 182 and Convention 138, which together seek to eliminate the use of child labor. President Islam Karimov’s administration also issued a decree in 2008 pledging to eliminate the practice in Uzbekistan. However, human rights monitors have found abundant evidence that children continue to be forced out into Uzbekistan’s cotton fields to participate in the harvest.
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