We reported a news of last september about the decision for Uzbekistan to open up its cotton fields to international monitors this autumn.
Giving in to sustained international pressure, Uzbekistan is opening up its cotton fields to international monitors this autumn.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) has confirmed to EurasiaNet.org that it is sending a mission to monitor the Uzbek cotton harvest, which starts in mid-September.
"The ILO will be involved in the monitoring of the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan with the aim of preventing the use of child labor," spokesman Hans von Rohland confirmed by email on September 12. Monitoring will start "in the next few days".
Uzbekistan has been the target in recent years of international criticism and a widespread commercial boycott over its reliance on child and forced labor to reap the cash crop. Earlier this year, the US State Department assailed Uzbekistan on the forced labor issue.
The surprise news that an observer mission is being allowed into Uzbekistan, which has always denied the use of systematic state-sponsored child and forced labor but for years has resisted pressure to invite monitors in, was met with a cautious welcome from watchdog groups. Nevertheless, labor rights advocates are concerned that the ILO's mandate will not go far enough to stamp out abuses in the cotton fields.