Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
Gulnara Karimova, the daughter of the brutal ruler of Uzbekistan, is also a budding fashion designer. She was scheduled to present her GULI Collection at New York Fashion Week this Thursday, but when one of the shows' sponsor learned of her connection to human rights abuses, the show was cancelled.
The ruling regime in Uzbekistan implements a state-sponsored policy where young people are removed from schools across the country and forced to pick cotton to meet government-imposed production quotas. Reports are emerging right now that young people are being taken out to the cotton fields during the current harvest and made to work long hours without water. As an official representative of the Uzbek government (she is the country's Ambassador to Spain and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Geneva), Karimova is well aware of these abuses -- in addition to a broad range of other human rights abuses in her home country.
While Karimova's show was cancelled as part of the official Fashion Week events, the New York Post reports that she is currently seeking new venues for her show -- most likely a restaurant called Cipriani. Join us in asking these other venues to follow the trend and reject Karimova's show. Forced child labor is out of style.
If you are in New York, join us at a rally on Thursday at New York Fashion Week from 11am to 1pm to call for an end to forced child labor in cotton. Find more information and RSVP on Facebook here and on ILRF's website here. Not in NY? Invite your friends in the area!