Published: 24/03/2016
Forced labour in Uzbekistan’s cotton harvest remains widespread and human rights monitors face massive state repression, according to a new report from the Uzbek German Forum.

The cover-up – whitewashing Uzbekistan’s white gold documents the Uzbek government’s use of “arbitrary detention, threats, degrading ill-treatment… to silence monitors and undermine their ability to conduct research and provide information to the ILO and other international institutions”.

The report also expresses concern that World Bank and ILO representatives monitoring forced and child labour in Uzbekistan “did not appear to prioritize the safety of independent monitors, rarely making inquiries….or offering other support when monitors were arrested, ill-treated, or experienced other trouble”.

In November 2015 over 6,000 people responded to the IUF’s call for the World Bank to speak out against the Uzbek government’s persecution of human rights defenders, and the IUF was not the only organization to do so. Is the World Bank listening? Repression, according to the report, has not diminished and last year reached unprecedented levels.