Free Elena Urlaeva -

Free Elena Urlaeva


On March 1, prominent human rights activist Elena Urlaeva was detained by police in Uzbekistan and is now being forcibly held in a psychiatric institution.

Elena was verbally and physically attacked by police, and detained the day before she was set to meet with a delegation from the International Trade Union Confederation and the World Bank Group to share information about the Uzbek Government’s widespread use of forced labor in its annual cotton harvest.

Elena is a brave human rights defender standing up for the rights of all Uzbek citizens. Please stand with us in demanding she must be released.

This is not the first time the Uzbek Government has tried to silence Elena for her activism. She is detained several times each year in the course of her monitoring work, and in 2001, 2005, 2012 and 2016 was subjected to punitive compulsory psychiatric imprisonment, even though she has been found to be of sound mind. Do not let this critical independent voice be silenced.

Join us in demanding the Uzbek Government release Elena Urlaeva immediately.

Video credit: Thomson Reuters Foundation –

Photo Credit: Uzbek German Forum –

Campaign updates

24 March 2017: Elena was released from the psychiatric hospital. She spent 23 days there undergoing forced psychiatric treatment. Thank you for all your support in calling for her release.

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Our partner in this campaign:

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Cotton Campaign

The Cotton Campaign is a coalition of human rights organizations, trade unions, socially responsible investors and business associations united to end forced labor of children and adults in the cotton industry in Uzbekistan. Since 2007, the Cotton Campaign has advocated with governments, companies and investors to use their leverage to end this continuous and systematic human rights violation. Its advocacy has contributed to key steps towards securing fundamental labor rights for Uzbek and Turkmen citizens.

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