Human Rights News

Tashkent Region: Two Farmers Arrested for Defaulting on Cotton Loans

Two farmers from the village of Uzbekistan in the Akkurgan district of the Tashkent region, 39-year-old Sherali Toshiboev and 54-year-old Erkin Maripov, were arrested for not repaying loans for cotton. Erkin Maripov was released on November 24 after his family repaid part of the loan. Sherali Toshiboev remains in custody. Radio Ozodlik reported that Toshibaev …

33-year-old Farmer Hangs Himself after Confiscation of His Property

Relatives of Sanjar Baratov, a 33-year-old farmer from the Jizzakh region in Uzbekistan, said that he took his own life because he felt desperate after Enforcement Bureau officers confiscated his property for failure to pay off a bank loan. On the evening of November 6, Sanjar Baratov, who resided in the Navruz urban settlement in …

Ten Thousand Uzbek Soldiers are Picking Cotton in the Syrdarya Region 

One of the soldiers told Ozodlik that despite the lack of cotton in the fields, ten thousand soldiers of the Uzbek Armed Forces are picking cotton in the Akaltyn district of the Syrdarya region. An employee of the regional administration later confirmed this information. Among the cotton pickers are soldiers who serve under annual or …

Decisive action to hold official accountable not so decisive after all

Official fired by Mirziyoev for abusing farmers and officials reappointed to district head with oversight over farmers Zoyir Mirzayev, the Deputy Prime Minister fired by the president of Uzbekistan on October 29 for punishing farmers and officials, was appointed  hokim of the Sharaf-Rashidov district of Jizzakh region on November 7. The official reason for Mirzayev’s dismissal was …

Journalist Detained for Exposing Hokim Ordering Teachers and Doctors to Pick Cotton

On the evening of October 25, the journalist found out that the hokim of the Kushkupir district was holding a meeting with the principals of schools and kindergartens and heads of rural medical institutions to discuss the mobilization of their employees to pick cotton. Ruzmetov immediately went to the hokimiyat and recorded the meeting on his mobile phone. When …

Sandbags Added to Harvested Cotton in Andijan under Management’s Orders

At cotton receiving points in the Boz district of the Andijan region in Uzbekistan, bags filled with sand are added to the harvested cotton to increase the weight. An “overstatement” of the cotton weight is carried out on the orders of the head of the district, Ozodlik’s sources report. According to one of the workers …

Bed Linen Previously used for Children with Tuberculosis Given to Soldiers Moblized to Pick Cotton

Parents of children at a sanatorium for children with tuberculosis, or who are at risk of developing it, in the Turtkul district of the Republic of Karakalpakstan told Ozodlik that the school administration had given the children’s mattresses to soldiers who had come to pick cotton. They complain that the children are freezing at night …

Cotton Harvest Chronicle 2018, Issue 3

The Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF) continues to monitor forced labor during this year’s cotton harvest in Uzbekistan. UGF monitors collecting information in seven out of Uzbekistan’s 13 regions are recording massive forced mobilization to pick cotton or the demand to pay for replacement workers. Forced mobilization is taking place under the direct instructions of the …

Cotton 2018: “Women and men are sleeping in the same room, divided only by a curtain”

105 workers from cultural institutions in the Jizzakh region are collecting cotton in a “voluntary-compulsory” way (Soviet term for social work that cannot be refused). Men and women have to share living quarters and are publicly reprimanded if they pick less than 70 kg of cotton per day. Employees of theaters, museums, libraries as well …

Cotton Harvest Chronicle 2018, Issue 2, October 1, 2018 

Unlike all previous years, during the first ten days of the cotton picking period, forced mobilization for the cotton harvest in 2018 does not appear to be on a massive scale. Employees of educational and medical institutions have not been recruited to collect cotton. However, reports by UGF monitors, eyewitness accounts, and publications in the independent press …