Call on the Uzbek Government to drop the charges against Malokhat

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39,563

To President Shavkat Mirziyoyev:

Thank you for raising the issue of forced labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry for the first time during your address at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2017. We commend the Uzbek government’s desire to reduce forced labor and end the mass mobilization of Uzbek citizens during the cotton harvest, including recent steps taken to recall students, educators and medical workers from the fields. But more must be done to ensure human rights activists like Malokhat Eshonkulova, working to monitor the situation on the ground, can do so freely without harassment or threat by authorities.

Ms. Eshonkulova faces $1400 in fines having been charged with ‘unauthorized pickets’, as well as threat with deportation from her home in Tashkent using the registry permit system. We believe that these legal proceedings are a ruse and that Ms. Eshonkulova is actually being harassed for her work monitoring and exposing forced and child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton industry.

Malokhat Eshonkulova’s work is critical to protecting the rights of all Uzbek citizens. The harassment of activists like Ms. Eshonkulova is a clear dereliction from the Uzbek government’s stated desire to reduce forced labor.

 We call on you and the Uzbek government to stop all legal proceedings against Ms. Eshonkulova so that she can continue her important work without fear of threat or retaliation.