Worker on a cotton field © UGF 2017

“Save the Uzbeks from the misfortune called cotton!!!”

A cotton collector from Ferghana wrote a letter to Radio Ozodlik from a cotton field in the Sayhunabad district of the Syrdarya region, asking the radio channel to inform the UN that President Shavkat Mirziyayev’s statement at the UN tribune that forced labor in Uzbekistan had ended was nothing more than a lie.


Radio Ozodlik publishes this letter without changes, preserving the spelling and punctuation of the author.

With the condition of preserving my complete anonymity.

The khokim (administrator) of the Ferghana region Shukhrat Ganiev, referring to an order of the President, mobilized employees of all organizations and institutions in Ferghana to compulsory collection of cotton in Karakalpakstan.

Thousands of labor slaves were planted in wagons at the railway station in Margilan with the help of police force. We were glad that we got a place in the compartment car, but in the section designed for two passengers, they forcibly placed twelve people. I wanted to protest, but in front of me stood the officer from the Ferghana Department of Internal Affairs with a baton in his hands. We rode in silence. On the next day, at 11:00, we arrived at the railway station in Gulistan. We were dropped from the cars like dogs and put in a truck. Yes, it was a truck …

Then we were taken to the Sayhunabad district of the Syrdarya region.

We slept on the concrete floor. The most unpleasant thing, however, was that we were assigned by several policemen armed with batons sent from Fergana’s Internal Affairs Directorate.

And they keep humiliating us ever since. Police officers threaten us with prison. We still collect cotton, living in humiliating conditions at School No. 30 in the Sayhunabad district.

If you really are Ozodlik (“ozodlik” means “liberty” in Uzbek), report this to the United Nations. Save the Uzbeks from the misfortune called cotton. How long will we be humiliated in our homeland?

Why is the UN silent? After all, you can bring this information to them! Please, inform them!

Sh. Mirziyoyev’s statement at the United Nations was a lie! Forced labor in Uzbekistan is in full swing!

I ask you, please keep my anonymity!!! If my identity becomes known, then my already hard life will turn into constant torment!!!

Save the Uzbeks from the misfortune called cotton!!!

Originally published by Radio Ozodlik at: