Suspend loans tainted by Uzbek forced labor -

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 David Malpass 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:

  • COVID-19 Update: Uzbek authorities have used the pandemic as an excuse to silence human rights monitors, like Elena Urlaeva. Recently, regional officials forcibly tested Elena for COVID-19 and placed her into compulsory isolation at homeDonate here to help Elena secure legal advice. 

  • February 7, 2020: A new ILO report has found that Uzbekistan is making great strides toward ending forced labor in its cotton industry, but it’s important to note that the problem is far from solved. More work is needed to ensure sustainable change. Read more here.

  • September 23, 2019: Uzbekistan’s annual harvest is getting underway, but yet again reports of forced labor are emerging. Members of the public report being made to sign agreements that they are “volunteering to join the harvest campaign to help out the farmers.” Read more…

  • 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.

  • Sep 30, 2015: Campaign Launches

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Rajan Narasimhachari
Rajan Narasimhachari
5 years ago

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

Betty Harris
6 years ago

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.

Anne Healy
Anne Healy
6 years ago


Andrew (Andy) Alcock
Andrew (Andy) Alcock
5 years ago

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
J Spencer
5 years ago

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.

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