End to Uzbek child labour is not all it seemsJuly 2009
Child labour is still widely used in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry, contrary to claims that corporate influence is putting an end to it, says a new report.
Despite pressure from large corporations, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), a US-based workers’ rights organization, reports that the Uzbek government has continued to rely on child labour for its cotton harvest.
Wal-Mart, one of a number of companies to boycott Uzbek cotton last year, claimed to have made ‘dramatic progress’ on eliminating forced child labour in the country (EP10, issue 6, p5).
At the time Uzbekistan officially banned the practice, ratified International Labour Organization conventions on child labour, and produced a national child labour action plan for all industry sectors.
But the ILRF finds that while the Uzbek government has shortened the closure of some schools so that fewer children are drafted into the cotton fields, it still shuts educational establishments during the harvest and compels children as young as nine to work.
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