Field report: Freeing Elena Urlaeva


To free Uzbekistan human rights activist, Elena Urlaeva, from forced detention in an Uzbek psychiatric institution.


Every year, the Uzbekistan Government forcibly mobilizes hundreds of thousands of its citizens to work in its cotton fields. A handful of brave human rights monitors risk their lives to investigate forced labor and human rights abuses in the fields and help Uzbek citizens realize their rights. Elena Urlaeva is one of these monitors and over the years she has been imprisoned multiple times by the Uzbek authorities for speaking out. On March 1, 2017, she was detained in a psychiatric facility and subjected to punitive psychiatric treatment against her will. This happened just before she was due to meet with a delegation from the International Trade Union Confederation and the World Bank Group to share information concerning the Uzbek Government’s widespread use of forced labor. We launched a campaign alongside our partners, the Cotton Campaign, calling for her immediate release.


On 24 March 2017, Elena was safely released from the psychiatric institution after 23 days imprisonment.