Europe & Central Asia

Child Labor Returns to Uzbekistan’s Cotton Fields

  • November 1, 2017
  • Christopher Dunn

In recent years, Uzbekistan has increased the number of public-sector workers required to pick cotton, because the country nearly ended child labor in 2014 after pressure from the international community, including the Solidarity Center. Recent reports, however, indicate that the practice of forcing children to pick cotton has not ended in all parts of the… [READ MORE]

Kyrgyzstan’s Sherimbayeva: ‘We Are Stronger… Together’

Kymbat Sherimbayeva was born in Naryn Oblast, a mountainous and very cold region of Kyrgyzstan where most people support themselves through cattle breeding.  Seven years ago, 18-year-old Sherimbayeva left her village for Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan’s capital, seeking work. Youth un- and underemployment stands at 55 percent in Kyrgyzstan. Most young people feel forced to migrate to… [READ MORE]

Take Action in Support of Jailed Kazakh Union Leaders!

Two Kazak union leaders who were arrested and imprisoned in January after leading a hunger strike, have been convicted and fined exorbitant amounts for their protest against the government’s liquidation of the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kazakhstan (KNPRK) in favor of a government-aligned federation. Amin Yeleusinov, chairman of the Oil Construction Company union, was… [READ MORE]

Report Links World Bank to Uzbekistan Forced Labor

The World Bank is funding half a billion dollars in agricultural projects linked to forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, said Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF) in a report released today. Even though the Uzbek government promised the Bank that it would not use forced or child labor linked to… [READ MORE]

Georgia Railway Workers Secure Key Safety Gains

Nearly 200 railway construction workers in three villages in west Georgia won significant health and safety gains through two agreements with state-owned company China Railway 23rd Bureau Group, according to interviews with several workers in a new Georgian-language video. The company is under contract with the government to modernize Georgia’s Tbilisi-Rikoti railway route, including construction… [READ MORE]

May Day: Standing up for Worker Rights across the Globe

  • May 2, 2017
  • |

From Cambodia to Zimbabwe, in Serbia and Honduras, hundreds of thousands of workers and their families celebrated International Workers Day, honoring the dignity of work and the accomplishments of the labor movement in defending human rights, job stability, fair wages and safe workplaces. Together, workers and their unions are demonstrating their commitment to sustaining and… [READ MORE]

Georgia Teachers Sign Historic Pact

In a precedent-setting move, the union representing teachers in Georgia signed a pact with the education ministry last month, signaling the new government’s willingness to partner with teachers—although unions in other sectors, including the railways and postal sector remain under attack. Unions in Georgia have struggled for their right to organize for more than a… [READ MORE]

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]

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