Press Releases

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Forced Labor Linked to World Bank Corporate Loan in Uzbekistan

Complaint Filed in Cotton Production Case

(Русский вариант)

(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. 

United States takes strong stand against forced labor in cotton

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.

Правозащитник Елена Урлаева освобождена

Правительство Узбекистана насильно содержало Елену в поликлинике более чем месяц

После более чем месяца насильственного содержания в Ташкентской городской клинической психиатрической больнице, узбекскую правозащитницу Елену Урлаеву все же выпустили 1-го Июня. Елена Урлаева, глава местной правозащитной группы «Правозащитный альянс Узбекистана», добровольно зарегистрировалась в больнице 9-го Марта. Когда пришло время для выписки в конце Апреля, сотрудники клиники отказались ее выпустить сославшись на официальные указания «сверху», таким образом превратив ее больничную палату в тюремную камеру.

Uzbekistan Government Detains Human Rights Defender Elena Urlaeva


The government of Uzbekistan should immediately release activist Elena Urlaeva from the Tashkent City Psychiatric Clinic, said the Cotton Campaign today. Urlaeva, a well-known activist and the elected leader of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan (PAU), checked into the hospital on March 9 after experiencing multiple traumatic events. In late April, Urlaeva’s doctor informed her and her son that she was in good health and would be released on May 2.

Resolution to Protect Women in Global Supply Chains


Today, at a briefing on Capitol Hill, Congresswomen Jackie Speier and Jan Schakowsky introduced a resolution expressing that the United States should support and protect “the right of women working in developing countries to safe workplaces, free from gender-based violence, reprisals, and intimidation.” The bicameral resolution was introduced in the Senate by Senator Patty Murray, cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown, Ed Markey, and Barbara Mikulski.

ILRF Files Complaint to Halt Imports of Forced Labor-made Goods from Turkmenistan

Formal Complaint Filed Today Under the Tariff Act of 1930

(Washington, DC) - Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) and International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), partners in the Cotton Campaign, today filed a formal complaint against the importation of cotton goods from Turkmenistan, all of which are made with forced labor. Under the recently amended Tariff Act of 1930, U.S. Customs is required to deny entry to goods that arrive at U.S. ports that contain materials made with forced labor.

Uzbek and global activists petition World Bank President to suspend payments

New report documents state-led forced labor in 2015 cotton harvest within World Bank project areas in Uzbekistan

(March 9, 2016, Washington, DC): Today Uzbek civil society activists and more than 140,000 people from around the world presented a petition to World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim, calling on the Bank to suspend lending to the agriculture sector in Uzbekistan until the Uzbek government changes its policy of forced labor in the cotton industry.

Video of Umida Niyazova, Director of the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights, presenting the petition to the World Bank.

Rights coalition urges European Union to extend yellow card for Thai seafood

More progress is needed to ensure human rights are respected groups say
A coalition of nearly 30 labor, environmental and human rights organizations sent a letter to the European Commission on Feb. 17 asking it to extend for at least another six months. The letter asks the Committee to take human rights into account when assessing Thailand’s seafood sector.

Initial Statement Regarding Fire at Matrix Sweaters Factory


The Clean Clothes Campaign, the International Labor Rights Forum, the Maquila Solidarity Network, and the Worker Rights Consortium are deeply disturbed to hear of another serious fire breaking out at a garment factory in Bangladesh – the factory supplies H&M and JC Penney, according to public records. The fire service is reporting that some injuries were sustained, but no details have been provided to date.

H&M suppliers fail on deadlines to address safety hazards


As Swedish fashion giant H&M prepares to announce a predicted increase in their profits for 2015, labor rights groups are calling on the company to do more to protect garment workers in Bangladesh, after a review of H&M’s strategic suppliers shows that severe delays in carrying out urgent and vital building repairs continue to leave tens of thousands of workers at risk of death and injury.

Bangladeshi Workers Report Abuses and Violence Against Those Seeking Change


New interviews with Bangladeshi garment workers make clear that a climate of fear and intimidation prevails in the country’s industry, two and a half years after the Rana Plaza building collapse and the launch of the first industrial reform programs to address the pervasive fire and structural hazards in Bangladeshi garment factories.

Three years after Tazreen factory fire Walmart still refuses to pay

New claims process established for the victims of the Tazreen fire; Brands called upon to pay into Fund before the November 24 anniversary

The Clean Clothes Campaign and the International Labor Rights Forum are today calling on international brands, including Walmart and El Corte Ingles, to contribute to a fund established to make payments to the families of the 112 workers killed and those permanently injured in a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh.