Human rights groups condemn detention of Turkmen activist on false charges
(Washington, DC – March 23, 2017) Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) reporter Gaspar Matalaev remains imprisoned on false charges of fraud, despite his family’s hope that he would be released in December and again in February, when others charged with the same offense were given presidential pardons. Matalaev likely remains imprisoned due to his work monitoring state-sponsored forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton harvest.
After months of intense efforts by labor unions, and labor and human rights organisations, all over the world, yesterday, Bangladeshi trade unionists, the government and the employers’ organisation announced the planned release of all remaining detained labor leaders. Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum and the Worker Rights Consortium welcome the announcement as an important first step, but warn that in its current form it still falls short of fully resolving the crisis in Bangladesh.
Withdrawal from Factory Owners’ “Apparel Summit” is in Response to Two Month Campaign of Repression Against Bangladesh’s Garment Unions
Seven leading apparel companies -- H&M, Gap, Inditex (Zara), C&A, Next, VF Corporation, and Tchibo -- have pulled out as key speakers and participants from the Dhaka Apparel Summit, organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Their decision to withdraw is a response to the campaign of repression against the labor movement carried out by the Bangladesh government and factory owners over the last two months.
Protests in: Berlin, Washington DC, Paris, London, Rome and Nine other Major Cities
This week global union federations UNI and IndustriALL, which together represent over 70 million workers around the world, are leading demonstrations at Bangladesh Embassies in at least a dozen cities calling on the Government of Bangladesh to secure the dismissal of all unsubstantiated criminal cases against recently arrested trade unionists and garment workers, and to immediately release them from jail. A protest was held at the Bangladesh Embassy in Berlin on Tuesday.
(Washington, DC - February 16, 2017) A recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) confirms the scope and systematic nature of forced labor of Uzbek citizens during Uzbekistan’s 2016 cotton harvest, the Cotton Campaign said today. But the Uzbek government’s involvement in the research appeared to undermine the results, and may also have led the ILO to not give sufficient weight to the evidence of abuses presented by independent Uzbek civil society monitors.
On Wednesday, February 1, the International Labour Organization (ILO) released its monitoring report on forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, which confirms that for a second year in a row, government mobilization of workers for the annual cotton harvest poses a significant risk of forced labor. We agree with several findings of the ILO report. The ILO reaffirms that sustainable elimination of the risk of child and forced labor remains a prominent issue in Uzbekistan.
Groups Cite Major Articles in World’s Leading Newspaper as Evidence of the Growing Risk to the Industry’s International Image
Four leading international labor rights organizations, the Worker Rights Consortium, the International Labor Rights Forum, the Clean Clothes Campaign, and the Maquila Solidarity Network, issued the following statement on the current labor rights crisis in Bangladesh:
From January 23rd to January 25th an international delegation made up of representatives from Banana Link, GMB, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), 3F (General Union of Danish Workers) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Tobacco and Allied Workers (IUF) arrived in Honduras to follow up on the serious situation facing hundreds of workers in the melon plantations owned by the Irish fruit company Fyffes, located in the south of the country.
Amnesty International recently released a detailed report exposing shocking labor violations – including children as young as 8 engaged in work that is hazardous to their health – taking place on palm oil giant Wilmar’s Indonesian plantations. Amnesty was able to trace the palm oil from the Wilmar estates into the supply chains of major U.S.
Walmart, Gap, VF, Target & Hudson’s Bay Have Failed to Address Deadly Hazards in Many Factories, But Bangladesh Alliance Downplays the Problem with Rosy Status Reports
Three and a half years after the catastrophic Rana Plaza building collapse, major apparel brands and retailers that are part of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety are failing to fulfill their commitments to make their supplier factories safe, leaving hundreds of thousands workers at risk, according to a new report by labor rights groups. The report, “Dangerous Delays on Worker Safety,” is the first independent study on progress at factories producing for Alliance members.
One of President Obama’s key initiatives to improve wages and working conditions in federal government supply chains, the executive order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, is under attack by a coalition of federal contractors who have filed a lawsuit seeking to delay or prevent its implementation.
“Modern slavery doesn’t happen only in warzones. It exists in areas of both darkness and plain sight of people all over the world – even at sea … there are many, many stories … where unscrupulous fishermen use the isolation of the sea to hide their crimes … And the reasons aren’t hard to figure out. When criminals are able to turn a profit in an illegal fishing market, they’ll go after as many fish as possible. …the more labor they have on board, the larger their catches will be.
ILRF report finds World Bank in violation of international law on responsibility of international organizations for financial complicity in international crimes
A report by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) finds that the World Bank is committing a serious violation of international law by knowingly providing agricultural loans to the government of Uzbekistan that are used to sustain its state-orchestrated system of forced labor in the cotton sector.
Cotton Campaign urges successors to end state-sponsored forced labor & cotton crimes in Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan’s President for the past 27 years, Islam Karimov, passed away earlier this month, potentially opening the door to a new era for Central Asia’s most populous country. Emerging leaders in Uzbekistan have an opportunity to now engage constructively with the international community and build on recent developments initiated under Karimov by ending the use of forced labor in the country’s cotton sector.
The boiler explosion and resulting fire and structural collapse at the Tampaco Foils Ltd factory in Bangladesh demonstrates the ongoing dangers to industrial workers in that country and the failure of global corporations to take meaningful steps to protect the safety of workers in their supply chains. According to its corporate website, Tampaco Foils’ customers include two of the world’s largest consumer products brands: Nestle and British American Tobacco.
The second field investigation in a year documents systemic labor violations on Indofood-owned palm oil plantations in Indonesia
An independent report released earlier this week has again found that labor violations are rife in the palm oil plantations owned and operated by global food giant PepsiCo’s joint venture partner Indofood. Indofood is the sole producer of PepsiCo-branded snack food in Indonesia and one of the largest palm oil growers in the world.
Clean Clothes Campaign and the International Labor Rights Forum are delighted to report that a scheme set up to provide compensation to people affected by the Tazreen Fashions fire of 2012 has now completed its work of providing loss of income payments to all injured workers and to the dependents of those who were killed.
(Washington, DC) – A victim of forced labor in cotton production and three Uzbek human rights defenders filed a complaint on June 30, 2016 against the World Bank’s private lending arm, the Cotton Campaign coalition, the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights, International Labor Rights Forum, and Human Rights Watch announced today.
Move unwarranted and could slow progress, according to international coalition
(Washington, DC) - The U.S. State Department has removed Thailand from the lowest ranking in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report in a move that an international coalition of human rights, labor and environmental organizations said in a letter to U.S.
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan downgraded in annual anti-trafficking report
Today the US State Department gave the governments of both Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan well-deserved downgrades to Tier 3, the lowest possible ranking, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Both governments continue to coercively mobilize citizens to grow and harvest cotton each year in two of the world’s largest remaining systems of state-sponsored forced labor.