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Real progress or smokescreen?

By Tate Johnston, From Freedom United <

Is this progress or just a smokescreen? Recent reports from Uzbekistan are conflicting, what should we make of them?

The government is making promising commitments to tackle forced labor in Uzbekistan. But the experience of those living in the country suggests that forced labor is still a problem.

Human rights defenders like Malokhat need your help and support.

The Uzbek government has succeeded in ending the wide scale use of forced child labor in the cotton harvest.[1] However what we hear less about is that this progress was only possible because more adults have been forced to work in the cotton industry.[2]

While the Uzbek President has made public statements about the important role of civil society and activists, it is still difficult for them to do their job without hindrance.

Stand up against Malokhat Eshonkulova’s harassment.

Her case was highlighted this August at the United Nations, in the reports of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General:

“It has subsequently been alleged that police and other authorities in several regions arbitrarily detained, interfered with and obstructed the work of […] Ms. Malokhat Eshonkulova, an independent journalist and human rights activist […] because [she] openly monitor[s] work based upon forced labor.”[3]

The promising words from the Uzbek government suggest that political space is opening up in Uzbekistan, join us in calling for greater freedom for people like Malokhat.




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