[Eastern Europe and Baltic States] World Bank accused over child labour in Uzbekistan

27 Jun 2017
Financial times

The Financial Times spotlights the accusations brought towards the World Bank, where it is alleged that the institution purposely neglected to observe the forced labor pressed by Uzbek school on young students to pick cotton during the last fall season.

A recent study had made use of transpired government documents, hundreds of meetings performed by Human Rights Watch and the Uzbek-German Form, and the findings of field work occurring over the span of two years, and has furthermore prompted concern over loaning practices of the World Bank on a nation whose economical practices continue to be significantly reliant on labor methods pertaining to the Soviet-era. 

The Central Asian state owes to the fifth most expansive cotton economy in the world, however the sector makes use of forced labor induced upon public servants, students, and members of civil society. The practice is enforced by the state-sponsored threat to non-complying citizens of their revocation from their studies or occupation. 

Within the country, five locations have been identified in utilizing child labor for cotton picking. Furthermore, the recent study notes youth as young as 10 years old forcibly partaking in these laborious activities for as long as a month period. 

This perpetual occurrence has been notified to the World Bank for quite sometime, notably in 2013, by a group of Uzbek laborers coerced into picking cotton.

The article notes that the World Bank has loaned over $500 million toward agricultural practices in Uzbekistan over the course of the past two years. 

The World Bank claimed that the International Labor Organization had not reported nor discovered any child and forced labor practices within the country.

Human Rights Watch indicates that the scope of the International Labor Organization's investigations in Uzbekistan has been obfuscated and influenced through the government's mandate for the organization to incorporate national government authorities, state-unions, and other related actors on the International Labor Organization's research team.

The World Bank has not yet stated as to whether or not it will review the related practices of the country in response to surfacing allegations and claims.  

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