Press Releases

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World Bank Potentially Liable for Supporting Forced Labor in Uzbekistan

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.

After Karimov, What's Next?

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. 

Labor Rights Groups Respond to Tampaco Foils Factory Fire


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.

Global Food Giants PepsiCo, Indofood Linked to Poverty Wages, Worker Exploitation and Discrimination

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.

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.