“We are Forced to Pick Cotton in Bushes full of Thorns”

Some people mobilized to pick cotton in the Chinaz district of Tashkent region are being forced to do so among bushes full of thorns. The following complaint illustrates the situation:

“Employees of public institutions were brought to one of these cotton fields yesterday. It was full of bushes with thorns. Some refused to pick cotton there. The head prosecutor of Chinaz district, the head of the Ministry of Interior of Chinaz district, a member of the local department of public education and a local famer lied to people in order to make them pick cotton.

They promised to pay everyone 300 Uzbek Som per collected kilogram. Some agreed and some were transported to other fields. In fact, they were transported to even worse cotton fields. As we were informed later, there was nothing but bushes and thorns.

As for the promises given to the people, nobody got paid. They were told to ask for money from the farmer whom we saw only once. Furthermore, we had to pay our own way back from the cotton field.

As we were told later by the head of our cotton unit, the people who live in that area refused to pick cotton. That is why the farmer bribed the local prosecutor and the police so that they would force employees of public institutions to pick cotton in that area. And these employees certainly cannot refuse to pick cotton since they would otherwise be fired.”