Human rights advocates have petitioned the World Bank, calling on it to suspend payments to the Uzbek government until it stops the use of forced labour in the cotton harvesting industry.
The Cotton Campaign, a global coalition of labour, human rights and investor and business organisations, has handed a petition with around 140,000 signatures worldwide to World Bank president Dr Jim Yong Kim, calling on the bank to suspend payments to the government of Uzbekistan until it stops using forced labour.
The delivery of the petition on 9 March coincided with the release of a new report by the Berlin, Germany-based Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights documenting why the World Bank should suspend the loans worth US$500m for agricultural projects in Uzbekistan.
The campaigners allege that “in 2015 the government of Uzbekistan forced more than a million citizens under threat of punishment to pick cotton and farmers to grow cotton” for the state.
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