Uzbek students mobilized to pick cotton on a “voluntary” basis

Uzbekistan began to send university students to harvest cotton. Despite the government’s promise to abolish its forced labor practice, most university students were again mobilized to harvest cotton.

Nearly 10 thousand students from the only four universities in the Andijan region were forcibly sent to the fields starting from September 8th.

Students are being brought to the cotton fields in 2015. (Source: UGF)

Students are being brought to the cotton fields in 2015. (Source: UGF monitors)

Nevertheless, university directors denied that students were sent to harvest cotton under coercion.

According to the employee, answering a phone call at the reception of the Andijan Medical Institute, students specializing in general medicine, pediatrics, and professional education voluntarily agreed to help cotton growers in the area.

“The Pediatrics Department, the Department for General Medicine, and the Vocational Education Department voluntarily went to pick cotton. This year, people are sent to harvest cotton on a voluntary basis. Our graduate students are studying”, said an employee of the Andijan Medical Institute.

However, the employee could not answer the question of whether not all of the students preferred to study than to pick cotton: ”On this issue, you need to contact their parents”, – said the employee of the Andijan Medical Institute.

Students of most universities in the Ferghana, Namangan, Jizzakh, Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya regions and forcibly sent to pick cotton.