On November 3, 2017, human rights activist Elena Urlayeva visited cotton fields in the Balikchi district (Andijan region) and saw children at the age of 11-12 picking cotton.
She found out that they were pupils of the 5th grade from school No. 1 in the Balikchi district. According to the children, the director of their school had ordered them to pick 2-3 kg of cotton each day.
Elena Urlayeva further met with pupils of the school No. 13 in the Ulugnor district who had also been assigned to pick cotton. The activist saw some children get to the cotton fields by climbing over a deep water ditch on a unstable, self-made wodden bridge.
At about 11 o’clock, Elena Urlayeva observed how two teachers rom school №13 were leading young pupils with bags to the fields to pick cotton. As the teachers went to the cotton field, Urlayeva started to shout that children should not pick cotton and the teachers and children ran away from the field.
Elena Urlayeva further observed that the police at their field point carefully kept an eye on the fields where young children worked to ensure that no observer commission came by.
To verify that forced child labor is happening in Uzbekistan, Elena Urlayeva took pictures of children with flowers of cotton. Activists of the Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan intend to report the exploitation of children in the cotton production in the Andijan region to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in order to bring an end to these practices.
Information based on a report by Elena Urlayeva, “Human Rights Alliance of Uzbekistan” on November 4, 2017, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Original text in Russian available at: http://eltuz.com/ru/glavnye-temy/1417/