Uzbek Cotton Slavery Campaign 1094

I am delighted that a new canpaign has started today against the state enforced child slavery in the uzbek cotton industry, especially as this campaign originates in Germany, where a significant portion of society appears to have finally woken up to the reality of the German government’s appalling complicity in the Nazi style regime and atrocities of Karimov.

However in the UK it remains the case that since the coalition government came to power, there has not been one single government statement on the human rights atrocities in Uzbekistan or – even more damning of our sham democracy – one single statement or question from New Labour.

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1,094 thoughts on “Uzbek Cotton Slavery Campaign

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  • Habbabkuk

    Craig, why on earth should you expect any statement or condemnation from New Labour? Their policy vis à vis Uzbekistan was no different from that of the current government.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Since Soviets official propaganda call cotton – white gold. However; for millions of Uzbekistanies cotton is slavery. Karimov’s regime treat cotton pickers worse than southern plantation owners treated their slaves in Alabama and elsewhere in American colonies in 17 and 18 centuries. Cotton pickers in Uzbekistan today are provided the worst of the food (if they are lucky), the worst of the accommodation with virtually no sanitary conditions. In addition chemicals are sprayed while some 12-14 years old pick cotton on the fields.

    In 2012 cotton campaign was particularly ruthless. Some say it was due to the internal rivalry between karimov’s inner circle where prime minister Shafkat Mirziyaev (who is responsible for cotton picking campaign) is fighting for karimov’s blessing against more influential and more intelligent (at least in his own opinion) finance minister Rustam Azimov. Mirziyaev in order to improve his reputation in karimov’s eyes ordered all public and private organisations as well as schools, colleges, universities and hospitals to arrange “volunteers” or face fearsome prosecution. Police was ordered to watch cotton pickers and not allow anyone to leave cotton fields until dusk. Some sources suggest that around 15 people were either beaten to death or died as the result of forced cotton picking and some 50 women (some under teenage) were raped by police.

    Another (happier) side of this story is that dozens of high stationed officials and karimov’s own family made another generous replenishment of their multibillion finances. Where else money would come from for gulnara karimova to pay for gerard depardieu’s photosession.

  • nevermind

    excellent video very simply done, thank you for highlighting the appalling circumstances again and yes, our party politicians are complicit in silence, damn them.

  • Kempe


    H&M have been targetted over this issue before with demonstrations at their fashion shows and organised boycotts in the US.

    According to HRW Uzbekistan has escaped censure by US and EU governments because it’s an important route for military supplies going to Afghanistan.

  • MJ

    And for supplies of a different kind coming out. Oh yes and then there’s its rather splendid torture facilities, available to certain preferred customers.

  • Uzbek in the UK


    It is also because Uzbekistan is located between China, Russia and Middle East and close to Caspian Sea newly discovered hydrocarbon richness. It is also because president karimov is so called pro-westener despite his appetite for torture and absolute power (well there were many like him around the world during Cold War). It is also because karimov insures that lion share of his and his inner circle revenue enrich some very powerful financial institutions in both Wall Street and London. It is also because karimov insures that so called radical Islamists are kept underground which makes everyone (Russia, China, West, his neighbour dictators) happy.

    So there are these above reasons too.

  • Mary

    The H&M Board. All Swedish?

    Uzbekistan is not mentioned anywhere as far as I can see even in the link to the BCI initiative.

    They claim this on their website ‘We are the biggest user of organic cotton in the world.’


  • David

    “Nobody is shying away from having the tough conversation,” she added. “That said, we also have other interests and things that we need to protect in our relationship with Uzbekistan.”

    “WASHINGTON — The United States has temporarily waived a ban on providing military assistance to Uzbekistan because of the country’s crucial role in transiting supplies to forces in Afghanistan, according to U.S. officials.”

    “At a briefing for reporters, Nuland said that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had spoken “very frankly” during a visit to Uzbekistan last fall to Uzbek President Islam Karimov about U.S. support for human rights and the desire to see reforms by Tashkent. Clinton also raised “individual cases” that Washington is particularly concerned about, Nuland said.”

  • David

    Some people will do absolutely anything for money. Lilley was a major figure in the Thatcher government. He’s also to be found dissing the idea of man made global warming.

    As co-chair of the Uzbek-British Trade and Industry Council he ought to be facing some very public questions. This outfit is also British government sponsored, so they don’t care either.

    “Peter Lilley, the Conservative MP for Hitchen and Harpenden, promoted Uzbekistan’s cotton industry by inviting companies to an international cotton fair held in the Uzbek capital Tashkent last autumn.”

  • Mary

    There’s always a minor royal hobnobbing with these crooks and torturers. From the FCO link above. I believe HRH P Michael and his pushy wife have some other unsavoury connections.

    ‘HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Dr Booth led a delegation of UK business to Tashkent on 8-10 December 2010 for the 17th session of UBTIC.’

  • nevermind

    “In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”

    Martin Luther King, 1929-1968

    How fitting for No Labour!
    and to the tune of Bob Marley’s song ‘no women no cry’
    New Labour no cry,
    no Labour, no cry.

  • wikispooks

    Human rights and its derivative considerations are of concern to the State, whatever the hue of its putative goverment, only in so far as they may be of use in rallying an ever-gullible population to a particular cause du jour; nothing more, nothing less – pure Machiavelli IOW.

    Hence (by way of example) ‘plucky British islanders threatened by wicked dictatorship’ is invoked whenever the question of Falklands Sovereignty arises; whereas the similar sized population of the Chagos Islands is subjected to the most despicable torment and finally deported in careful secrecy, when the US required a depopulated Diego Garcia as a military base (subsequently named ‘Camp Justice’ BTW) – see this Wikispooks article.

    It is merely a question of importance and the supposed rights of people – especially people with brown skins who speak a funny patois – are supremely UNIMPORTANT if and when they get in the way. So long as the West requires the cooperation of Uzbekistan in pursuit of its Central Asia agenda, its people will be sorely disappointed if they hold out any hope of succour from the UK – IMHO anyway.

    The notion that we inhabit a functioning democracy in the UK – certainly in respect of foreign policy – is frankly quaint (to put it kindly) for a former Ambassador.

    OK, I know, I’m a knarled old cynic. But I do admire the persistence of people who continue to campaign on this sort of issue in the face of such overwhelming odds; honest I do. But if the biggest demonstration in UK history by far, has such a derisory effect (non-existent effect might be a better description) on the march to war in Iraq – and subsequent events, in all honesty, what hope is there?

    If that reads like a counsel of despair, I’m sorry; but its the truth and it has to be faced if an effective opposition/alternative to current escalating insanities is ever to gain traction.

  • Mary

    ‘Aitkenhead had previously “profiled” Alistair Darling, the Chancellor who presided over the worst financial collapse in memory. Greeted as “old friends” by Darling and his “gregarious” wife Maggie “who cooks and makes tea and supper while Darling lights the fire”, Aitkenhead effused over “a highly effective minister …he seems almost too straightforward, even high-minded, for the low cunning of political warfare.”

    The judges were asked to compare and contrast such moments of journalistic ecstasy with the same writer’s profile of Julian Assange on 7 December. Assange answered her questions methodically, providing her with a lot of information about the state’s abuse of technology and mass surveillance. “There is no debate that Assange knows more about this subject than almost anyone alive,” she wrote. No matter. Rather than someone who had exposed more state criminality than any journalist, he was described as “someone convalescing after a breakdown”: a mentally ill figure she likened to “Miss Havisham”. Unlike the alluring, electrifying, twice disgraced Mandelson, and the high-minded, disastrous Chancellor, Assange had a “messianic grandiosity”. No evidence was offered. The Gold Shammy was within her grasp.’

    John Pilger in good form on the ‘Shammies’.

  • Jay

    @ wickispooks

    Can we say confidently how this is going to pan out.

    A Machivellian undoing pressumably, it seems our friends with a common purpose have all the answers.

    As it is what forces that drive ignorance can easily come undone and hopefuly a positive human spirit will follow and bring peace and prosperity.

  • Lemon Puffs

    Germany wants their gold holdings repatriated to home soil. They have asked the French to return all of their gold, at a rate of 50 tonnes per year until all 374 metric tonnes are received.

    The French have just commenced military operations in Mali. Mali is Africa’s third largest gold producer. Mali, this past year, increased its gold production by just over 50 metric tonnes.

    Is anyone else seeing the connection here?

    I’m willing to bet that France does not have Germany’s gold and the Bundesbank has given them a few years to mine it from Mali. Yet the Mali source must be secure, hence the military must make sure the gold flows.

    Germany is getting too big for it’s boot again – sabotaging neighbouring countries economies so that they can control all of Europe, France now kowtowing to Berlin, the UK distancing itself from the mainland – seen this all before and it will end bad. On the plus side they’re being nice to some cotten pickers.

  • Uzbek in the UK


    Despite some integrity questionable trustees IWPR is considered to be more or less unbiased source of information. At least on such attention short region as Central Asia.

    As for Primark, I have not heard of them being spotted in bed with gulnara recently. They might have become more careful with their cotton supply sources but I have another issue with them. Considering the price of their goods one could easily see (or turn their blind eye) onto labour abuse. I for instance see thousands of women in countries like Bangladesh, India and China working days and nights for 2 USD per day. Considering how full of customers their shops are and their turnover I assume most turn their blind eye on these women in far away countries.

  • Mary

    Thank you Uzbek In The UK. I agree about Primark. I made the mistake of buying a pair of their espadrilles in the summer. Within two days they had fallen to pieces. I see people carrying multiple Primark shopping bags. So environmentally friendly – they are made of brown paper!

    Spot on Lemon Puffs. Not only gold. Uranium, iron ore, bauxite too.

    PS Is Obama regretting calling his second child Malia?
    Cameron has bitten off more than he can chew. National security meeting this morning on Algeria. Tomorrow attempting to appease his europhobic right wing. That hairline will be receding even faster. He will look odd when he is bald.

  • Bryan Hemming

    One of the reasons the US and EU put up with and encourage a whole list of vile dictators in former Soviet republics of Central Asia is simply they are afraid of China and India getting at their vast reserves of oil and other mineral resources. Also, heaven forbid a socialist get democratically elected, or even a true Muslim.

  • Uzbek in the UK

    Bryan Hemming

    You are partially right. Denying China and India (and especially China) access to the mineral resources is one of the major reasons of western policy in Central Asia. Growing Chinese economy and especially growing Chinese middle class require more energy hence China urgently need to secure reliable sources and Central Asia could be the most reliable and certainly the closest one. Another reason of importance of Central Asia for China is Chinese paranoia with separatism. Like Russia in Eastern Europe China is keen to secure puppet regimes on its immediate western border in order to create so called cordon zone that would prevent Muslim Middle East and South Asia from causing troubles to the troubled Chinese province.

    But you did not mention Russia. Russia is still (and will be for long time to come) single most influential player in Central Asia. More than 5 million Central Asians (mostly from Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Kyrgistan) work in Russia and whose remittances partially support local economies. Russia is the only reliable transport route for Central Asian goods to the world market. More than 9 millions Slavs (mostly of Russian origin) live in north of Kazakhstan and comprise around 45% of whole population in that country and who are loyal to Russia more than to Astana. In Russian perspective Central Asia is needed and not as a source of energy but as 1. Cordon zone 2. Power projection area 3. Bargaining chip with China and west. Russia plays major role in Central Asian politics and will have major say in post Karimov and post Nazarbaeyv power transition.

    My opinion is that not China or India but Russia is the major reason on western tolerance of brutal dictatorship. Russia would offer support to any party within Uzbekistan which will be 1. Not totally pro western 2. Non Muslim 3. Accept Russia as a major player in Central Asia 4. Will not join any anti Russian alliances. Thus western policy in Central Asia could only be counterbalancing Russia’s policy.

  • DoNNyDarKo

    Read somewhere Martin Luther King ” had a dream “, and Obama ” had a drone ”
    The pillage of Africa is under way.I wonder how long a stable democratic Ghana can withstand the onslaught from the so called civilised West.
    The Sahara is a treasure of the planet just as Antarctica is, but unfortunately it’s an easy target. Not much of a population, poorly armed and still pretty tribal.
    You keep hearing the military leaders talking about over stretch , I wonder when the elastic will burst ? Mineral wealth is real wealth and the people talking about a trillion $ coin and printing paper money know it.The Arab spring seems to have been a well planned invasion of a continent.

  • nevermind

    lemon puffs had a bad morning so it seems.
    “Germany is getting too big for it’s boot again – sabotaging neighbouring countries economies so that they can control all of Europe, France now kowtowing to Berlin, the UK distancing itself from the mainland.”

    I know that some despise Germany for being efficient and on the ball, for investing their profits in modernising industry and for being No.3 exporter in the world, but this kind of rhetoric is what I expect to hear from UKIP/BNP supporters.

    Can you please us with the ‘sabotaging’ incidents, name a few if you like to put some horse meat to your rant, please.

    If anybody is sabotaging anyone, its Britain, whining about their rights and wants and preferences whilst sitting on the non committal fence, when they could be sitting in Brussels, constructively trying to negotiate our interests and getting the EU our of this rut.
    I’m not happy with the status quo, I want Commissioners elected by us all, not appointed, see audited returns once/year, stop accession to the EU until countries are ready to join.

    Your comment could have come from the mouth of a Greek fascists.

  • Uzbek in the UK


    Lemon has a point. Germany is naturally continental leader. And shortage (in timescale) of their imperial record of abuse is more to do with France restraining German unification in 18- early 19 centuries than with Germans being less slave thirsty. Like every idea born in capitalism EU benefits those better off. And Germany is the one that is the best off in this Union. I am not anti-EU person but it is neither democratic nor mutually beneficial. Ask those late joiners.

  • Giles

    Nevermind, nice to see you’ve learned from the BBC to always put the the UKIP/BNP together.

    Agreed about sitting on the fence though – what’s needed is a hard commitment, an In/Out referendum. Do you object to that?

  • nevermind

    Uzbek in the UK, Germany has to play by the same rules that have been established for all, by all.
    Not many people in this country blaring on about human rights and wanting to opt out have a clue about the history.
    I bet not one on here could name a EU commissioner, not Barrosso or Ms Ashton, without googling, the information deficit established by the MSM in this country is so bad it stinks of sabotaging the EU.

    Igf German is successful and people want to buy their goods, despite the cheap as chips wares from China, then this speaks for itself.

    Reunification was a massive financial strain for West Germany then, a wholesale rout of existing industries, renewal of infrastructure, coping with the resulting unemployment, not to speak of the increasing influx of workers from other EU countries wanting to work in Germany.

    Germany record of Imperial abuse is as bad as that of Britain, although Britain has never stopped dishing it out, with or without an empire to support its flagging economy, now in a triple dip recession.

    Ms Merkel is most likely getting re elected, however much people here would like to see socialists taking over. As for the course of the EU’s future and US endearment to it, for the obvious self serving reasons, its all about using Britain as their economical aircraft carrier, it will be bleak for Greece and others who had decades of support and financial help.

    Maybe you would like to see Germany leave the EU, say sod you, and fulfil your premonitions, then we could talk up another war here, the MSM would love it, its their favourite subject.

    If in doubt, blame a Kraut!

  • Giles

    Ha! According to Nevermind, people not knowing the identities of the external, unelected bureaucrats in charge of an unaccountable organization is because…. .. the anti-EU MSM is conspiring to sabotage the EU!


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