Employees of state organizations and students of colleges and schools are still being coerced into collecting cotton, despite very little cotton left to harvest. The following are testimonies from those who are affected.
Khorezm Region, Students:
Students sent to the fields instead of studying: (VIDEO)
Students complain that the director of their college sent them to collect cotton instead of studying: “I am writing to you from the technical college in the village of Dustlik (Chovot district, Khorezm region).”
November 15, 2017
Navoi Region, Employees of the company Navoiazot*:
There is no cotton. People collect firewood
“The workers of “Navoiyazot” do not collect cotton, they collect brushwood. Do people know about this? There is no cotton left at all, but we are still working in the fields. We are staying overnight in the Navoi region of Khatirchi district. There is no decent food. Please, we are in despair.”
*Note: Navoiazot is joint stock company that produces chemical and mineral products.
November 15, 2017
Andijan Region, Medical College students:
“When will the cotton harvest end? Instead of studying, we are collecting cotton branches in a field with cows and sheep. The farmer does not provide dinner for us. Nobody weighs the cotton. I’m a college student. Instead of studying, we have been sent out to the cotton fields. What kind of medical workers are we supposed to become?
— On behalf of students of the Buz (district) Medical College of the Andijan region, who aspire to knowledge.”
November 8, 2017
If you run away from cotton, the police will beat you up
“It’s been 20 days since I started collecting cotton in the Sharaf Rashidov district of the Jizzakh region, although I myself am from the Angor district of the Surkhandarya region. We are picking cotton under pressure, and if we escape, we are caught by the police and reprimanded. They say ‘Why did you run away?’ A few people have even been beaten. They told us that we would only come for ten days and that there would be no expenses from our side. There is no trust left in the state. They say ‘If you don’t collect cotton, write a statement.’ I even went to the local reception of the Jizzakh region, but they did not accept my complaint. They said to go to the prosecutor’s office, and the prosecutor’s office said that my application would be considered within one month, but by that time the cotton harvest will have ended. I would not even give my dog the food we are given.”
October 26, 2017