Europe & Central Asia

Uzbek Human Rights Activist Elena Urlaeva Released

Uzbek human rights defender Elena Urlaeva was released from a psychiatric hospital in Tashkent yesterday where she was imprisoned for 23 days with neither her consent nor a court order to forcibly treat her, according to the Cotton Campaign. Urlaeva’s release follows an international campaign spearheaded by the Cotton Campaign, a global coalition of labor,… [READ MORE]

Ukraine: Rights Ombudsman, Unions, NGOs Fight Corruption

  • March 23, 2017
  • Tristan Masat

Corruption in Ukraine extends beyond the public sphere, seeping across the economy, private sector and individual relationships. To fight it, nongovernmental organizations and trade unions have joined with Ukrainian Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights Valeria Lutkovska to leverage grassroots solidarity work in support of the Ombudsman’s office’s anti-corruption efforts. Together, the group launched the “Solidarity… [READ MORE]

Global Unions Rally for 350 Fired Georgia Workers

Some 350 workers at the Georgia chemical company Rustavi Azot recently were dismissed without notice or compensation and nearly 2,000 more threatened with firing unless they accept new, short-term contracts. The actions by the company, which produces mineral fertilizers, ammonia, sodium cyanide and nitric acid, generated protests in Rustavi and Tbilisi, garnered international support and… [READ MORE]

Kazakhstan: Crackdown on Union Deepens

The arrest and detention of two union leaders in Kazakhstan marks an escalation in government attempts to silence unions it does not control. KNPRK Deputy President Nurbek Kushakbaev and local union Chairman Amin Yeleusinov were arrested January 20 after oil workers, including the two leaders, began a hunger strike to protest the Kazakh government’s legal action… [READ MORE]

Kazakhstan Seeks to Dissolve Unions

Union leaders tell the Solidarity Center that the Kazakhstan government has launched a campaign to intimidate union members and to malign and discredit the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CFTUK). In addition, the regime has initiated legal action to liquidate the confederation, while leaving intact a government-aligned federation. Yet even in the face of threats… [READ MORE]

Georgia Alloy Factory Workers Make Big Gains in New Pact

Workers at the Zestafoni Ferroalloy factory in Georgia’s Imereti region successfully negotiated a contract after five months of negotiations with their employer that includes wide-ranging workplace safety and health improvements, wage increases and social benefits. The three-year pact finalized earlier this month at the country’s largest silicomanganese processing plant establishes 40 hours as the standard… [READ MORE]

Uzbekistan Cotton Harvest: Activists Detained, Beaten

  • October 28, 2016
  • Jeff C. Wheeler

In the past month, journalists and human rights activists in Uzbekistan have been arrested, interrogated and even beaten for documenting conditions of forced labor and raising awareness among workers about their rights during the country’s annual cotton harvest. Every year, Uzbekistan mobilizes more than 1 million workers to pick cotton through a coercive system of… [READ MORE]

Student Death Launches Uzbekistan’s Forced Labor Season

At least one person has died in Uzbekistan cotton fields so far this season, part of the country’s massive mobilization of compulsory labor in which nurses, teachers, students and state employees are forced from clinics and classrooms to toil for weeks picking cotton. Komiljon Asimov, 20, a biology student at Abduhab State University, died September… [READ MORE]

Fire Kills Migrant Workers in Russia

The search for a better future and the means to support their families in Kyrgyzstan ended tragically for 14 migrant workers Saturday, August 27, in Moscow, when their printing plant caught fire. All of the victims were young women, including two 17-year-old girls, according to reports. Three Russian workers also died. Burials for the workers… [READ MORE]

Coalition to World Bank: Hold Uzbekistan Accountable

The World Bank must convey to the Uzbek government that attacks against independent monitors assessing the extent of forced labor in the country’s cotton harvest will not be tolerated. The World Bank must also outline consequences should the attacks continue, according to the Cotton Campaign. In a July 29 letter to key World Bank officials,… [READ MORE]

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