25 October 2016
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

    » 10/08/2011, 00.00


    Europe blocks Uzbek cotton harvested with child labour

    International groups denounce the continuing exploitation of children as young as 9, forced to pick cotton for months without going to school. The EU rejects an agreement on tax relief for Uzbek cotton. Tashkent, however appears unwilling to change.
    Tashkent (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The European Union has turned down a trade agreement to facilitate the textile exports from Uzbekistan to Europe, because the country continues to use forced child labor for the cotton harvest. For years the international community has unsuccessfully demanded Tashkent not force children to give up school in order to harvest crops.

    Uzbekistan is the 5 th largest producer and 3rd exporter of cotton. Cotton represents about 25% of its exports and the agreement would lower tariffs in Europe. But on Oct. 4, the Committee for Foreign Affairs of the EU Parliament unanimously rejected the agreement, asking Tashkent to allow a full and thorough international monitoring to ensure a halt to the exploitation of child labor "at any level." Now the question will be voted upon by the EU Committee for International Trade.

    Uzbekistan has long denied the exploitation of children for the cotton crops and defends itself by claiming that for the most part these are family businesses. But international organizations denounce, with data and photographs, that each year from September to December, between 200 thousand and 2 million children between 9 and 15 are taken away from school and forced to pick cotton for minimum wages.

    The International Labour Organization (ILO) reports that children, even 10 years old, are brought by bus to the camps, with threats of fines for the families if they refuse. Joanna Ewart-Jones, in charge of the Program Against Slavery International, says that "90% of Uzbekistan cotton is harvested by hand, and about half is collected by forced child labour tolerated by the state."

    The Government of Uzbekistan, however, takes advantage for its strategic position in Central Asia. While the EU restricts trade, the United States is discussing whether to lift the sanctions imposed in 2004 for violations against human rights, although the situation has not improved. The Obama government wants to resume military cooperation with the country, for its strategic location in the heart of Central Asia and close to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In addition, the country is rich in gas, much coveted by Europe as well as Russia, China and other countries.
    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    Cotton in Central Asia: a story of poverty, environmental degradation and labour exploitation

    09/09/2004 ASIA
    Child illiteracy and child labour are the continent's main social ills

    One fifth of India's GNP is generated by exploited minors working in farming sector.

    22/01/2008 UZBEKISTAN
    Open letter against child labour calls for Uzbek cotton boycott
    Human rights activists denounce Uzbek state for forcing pupils to leave schools to pick cotton at low wages. Profits go to politicians. Clothing retailers join the boycott, but the campaign is proving controversial. Teacher tells of her experience.

    11/06/2008 INDIA
    Education and learning against child exploitation, says Lenin Raghuvanshi
    On World Day against Child Labour, the Indian activist calls for better schooling for everyone as the only solution to the problem. Some 55 million children live in slave-like conditions, especially among the lowest castes of society.

    For Ban Ki-moon, respect for human rights is key for peace in Central Asia
    The UN secretary-general calls on Kyrgyz authorities to investigate 2010inter-ethnic clashes. In Uzbekistan, he calls for an end to forced labour in cotton fields. In Turkmenistan, he calls for unfettered access for independent observers to the country’s prisons.

    Editor's choices

    The new bishop of Changzhi and the many voices on China-Vatican dialogue

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The ordination will take place on November 10 in the Cathedral. The bishop had been appointed by the Holy See at least two years ago. But he was waiting for the green light from Beijing. Similar situation in Chengdu. Fears for the presence of excommunicated bishops. Reconciliation between illegitimate and official bishops is not brought about by political gestures, but depends on personal and canonical procedures. A meeting between the Chinese delegation and the Vatican is not "imminent".


    Pope: the cruelty of those who kill children in Iraq “makes us weep”

    "Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that have been committed for far too long against innocent citizens, be they Muslim, Christian or members of other ethnic groups and religions."  World Mission Day “is time of courage”.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSScanale RSS 

    Add to Google


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®