Senior Pupils from Mirzachul District Mobilized to Pick Cotton

Senior pupils from the Mirzachul district of the Jizzakh region are involved in picking cotton. Parents of one such pupil informed Ozodlik that 7-9th grade pupils are being forcibly mobilized to pick cotton.

An anonymous source of Ozodlik from the Mirzachul district claimed that his/her daughter in the 8th grade is being forced to pick cotton. She has full day shifts on weekends and picks cotton after classes during the week.

“Pupils are being sent to pick cotton on a daily basis. They all are told to say that they pick cotton voluntarily. But in fact, they are being forced. They were forced to pick cotton even though it was raining today. Classes take place just as a formality. My child is an 8th grade pupil. They start their classes at 8 am. After studying for two hours they are all sent to pick cotton. ‘Our teachers are picking cotton, which is why we should do so as well’, she says. When I told her to stay and study, she told me that all her friends go to pick cotton. ‘I cannot stay away from it’, she says. She picked 12 kg yesterday and submitted it on her teacher’s behalf. They are helping the teachers. And it is the same in all the schools in the Mirzachul district, not only in our school No.14.”

Ozodlik contacted Bozorboy Rakhimov who is the principal of school No.14 in the Mirzachul district. However, Mr. Rakhimov hung up as soon as he heard Ozodlik’s questions.

Human rights activist Malokhat Eshonkulova also reported that senior pupils from schools located in the Kasbi district of the Qashqadaryo Region have been forced to pick cotton. This claim was made based on Malokhat’s conversation with one of those pupils.

However, an official from the district’s public education department denied the claims.

October 14, 2016.