Mothers receiving child benefits from the state are also forced to work during the cotton harvest. The Makhalla (district) administration threatens to cut off payments of state social benefits if the women do not participate in the cotton harvest.
“My sister-in-law has two kids. One of them has just started his first year at school, while the second one is just a year and two months old. My brother works as a driver. He drives a rented car and makes 250 thousand Uzbekistani Som (83$) a month. My sister-in-law is given 260 thousand Som (86$) via her debit card each month for her kids.
The Makhalla administration is forcing my sister-in-law to participate in the cotton harvest by saying ‘either you pick cotton, or we cut off any social benefits that you are receiving at the moment’. The problem is that her baby is not used to anybody else, but only her. How can she leave her baby alone?”
This is only one example of an Uzbek family living in poverty. If the mother does not go and pick cotton tomorrow, she will be cut off from any social benefits. Is that justice?
September 19, 2016