Suspend loans tainted by Uzbek forced labor - FreedomUnited.org
138,109 actions of 150,000 goal
Campaign Update:

December 2018: The World Bank continues to fund projects despite reports that, although there was a significant reduction, thousands of workers were still forcibly mobilised to bring in the recent 2018 harvest. Cases of exploitation are emerging such as the recent murder of 24-year-old Sohibjon Mutalibov – WATCH VIDEO to learn more.

Suspend bank loans tainted by Uzbek forced labor

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Hospital staff in Uzbek cotton fields in World Bank project area.

The World Bank is an institution that provides loans for developing countries. Right now it is providing almost $500 million to Uzbek agriculture projects. Yet Uzbekistan’s cotton industry has historically relied upon state-sanctioned forced labor

Whilst we have seen progress in Uzbekistan following the Uzbek Prime Minister’s announcement in September 2017 that the mobilization of students, teachers and healthcare workers would be halted “forever”, an estimated 336,000 people were forced to pick cotton during that harvest according to the UN’s International Labour Organization. So why has the World Bank not taken action?

The 2018 harvest is now finished and as we wait for the overall picture to emerge, cases of exploitation have come to our attention. Civil society monitors have reported teachers and healthcare professionals coerced into collecting cotton during the harvest. In December 2018, the tragic death of 24-year-old Sohibjon Mutalibov brought to light that his employer, Uzbek-Spanish company Ammofos-Maxam, forcibly sent their workers to the fields in last year’s harvest.

Yet despite two years of documented proof showing forced labor continues on World Bank project sites, particularly in the poor and vulnerable region of Karakalpakstan, the World Bank has not suspended its loans.

Send a message to the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim now that the Bank must cease these loans to support state-administered forced labor in Uzbekistan!

Watch the video to learn more about Sohibjon’s death:

  • December 2018: The World Bank continues to fund projects despite reports that, although there was a significant reduction, thousands of workers were still forcibly mobilised to bring in the recent 2018 harvest. Cases of exploitation are emerging such as the recent murder of 24-year-old Sohibjon Mutalibov – WATCH VIDEO to learn more.

  • September 2017:  The President of Uzbekistan met with the World Bank President the day after addressing forced labor for the first time on the international stage at the UN General Assembly on September 19. Two days later on September 21, the Uzbek Prime Minister announced that the mobilization of students, teachers and healthcare workers would be halted “forever”. Read our news story.

  • March 2016: Alongside the Cotton Campaign, ILRF and Anti-Slavery International, we held a rally outside the World Bank Headquarters in Washington D.C. and handed in 136,109 signatures to World Bank officials. Although the World Bank formally condemned the use of forced labor upon receipt of our petition, it has yet to suspend its loans to Uzbekistan. However, this campaign was a crucial first step in the process and has helped get us one step closer. Thank you for being part of the global anti-slavery movement and standing up for the rights of the Uzbek people.

  • December 2015: We joined our partner, the Cotton Campaign, in a protest outside the World Bank headquarters in Washington D.C. We projected a showcase of striking images and videos of Uzbek slavery onto the side of the Bank’s building.

Sep 30, 2015 Campaign Launches

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Don NadeauFreedom UnitedAyonam RayRajan NarasimhachariAndrew (Andy) Alcock Recent comment authors
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Don Nadeau
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Don Nadeau

I was born in potato country. I picked potatoes, starting at five years old. It was expected of school-age children and teenagers, but I don’t think it was forced. Schools were closed for two weeks at harvest time, but opened two weeks early every year to make up for the lost time. We were paid 35 cents per filled barrel (about the size of a 55-gallon drum). I earned $20 to $40 (cost of a child’s bicycle) my first season. Cold, hard, dangerous labor. (The tractor ran over my foot once.) -Don

Rajan Narasimhachari
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Rajan Narasimhachari

Of late, you are asking for donations after every petition is signed. I would like to contribute to worthy causes, but I do not know how the money I donate is being used. I request that you publish in your website the salaries and bonuses being paid to all members of your team along with expenses every year.. This transparency will definitely get you more donors. I have read that many organisations are giving their founders and CEOs huge salaries and bonuses and very little of the donation is us

Ayonam Ray
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Ayonam Ray

This is a very legitimate expectation. This is one of the reasons I have never donated. Because I do not have the time to go searching on the internet for every such organizations financial reports to verify how the money is being used.

Freedom United
Admin

We’re happy to provide our information. An email is headed your way. You can learn more about our finances ​here ​(http://www.guidestar.org/profile/47-1249214).

Andrew (Andy) Alcock
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Andrew (Andy) Alcock

For too long the World Bank has aided and abetted programs that exploit workers in developing countries and has forced governments to continue the exploitation of workers, force them to work in unhealthy and dangerous settings and to suppress unions that are dedicated to overcoming these problems. There needs to be an international movement that works to outlaw the exploitation of all workers, and to protect their human rights. (as in the International Declaration of Human Rights )

J Spencer
Guest
J Spencer

The World Bank purports to be supporting countries globally, but is essentially supporting the wealthy, if only by ignoring serious breaches of humane treatment of workers.
It gives out financial loans to countries but demands austerity, which has the opposite effect of helping the citizens of that country. Anyone can see that when people are enabled to afford a decent lifestyle, the outcome serves to unify and install community thinking. Austerity causes division.

Betty Harris
Guest

This is extremely hard work. the cotton burrs tear our fingers, carrying the load of cotton is a strain on a back that is already in serious pain from bending over for 8 hrs or more a day. I know. I grew up on a cotton farm.

Call on the World Bank President to suspend loans tainted with Uzbek forced labor

138,109 actions of 150,000 goal
138,109

Dear World Bank President Jim Yong Kim,

Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest has recently finished. I am concerned that despite the pledge made by Uzbekistan’s President in 2017, and during that harvest the ILO found that 336,000 citizens were forced into the fields but that the World Bank failed to suspend its loans benefiting the Uzbek cotton sector.

I am asking you to suspend the South Karakalpakstan Water Resources Management Improvement project and other agriculture investments in Uzbekistan that benefit the cotton sector until the systematic forced labor has verifiably ended.  I ask this knowing that you have failed to take action despite receiving over 136,109 petition signatures asking just that in March 2016, and despite credible reports from the Uzbek German Forum for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch extensively documenting ongoing forced labor on the South Karakalpakstan project area and throughout the cotton sector in violation of its agreement with the World Bank to enforce prohibitions on forced and child labor within the Bank’s project area.

Please act now by suspending loans that benefit the Uzbek cotton sector to ensure the World Bank is no longer perpetuating modern slavery.

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