|What an eventful few weeks. Years of campaigning, with supporters like you, and theUzbek government, which runs the world’s largest state-sponsored forced labor system, has now acknowledged it’s hearing your voice!|
Our current campaign calls on the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, to suspend loans to Uzbekistan.
And on September 20, Jim Yong Kim raised forced labor in his meeting with the President of Uzbekistan, who had just addressed forced labor for the first time on the international stage. The following day, the Uzbek Prime Minister said he was halting the mobilization of students, teachers and healthcare workers “forever".
Immediately following his announcement, the Uzbek government recalled students and some workers from forced labor in the cotton fields where the harvest is underway, however despite the statement, our partners have gathered evidence showing others remained.
It is not yet clear how significant this shift in policy is for citizens of Uzbekistan. Whilst there are positive signs, it is certainly not ended yet. Reports continue to show the forced labor system is intact. A district head died last week after being publicly berated for a poor cotton harvest. Meanwhile, World Bank loans continue to support the cotton industry through the International Finance Corporation, its private sector lending arm.
Can you share our action and help strengthen our voice?
Freedom United supporters like you Víctor have taken part in many actions to bring an end to this system.
- We delivered 107,342 signatures to Daewoo in South Korea calling for a stop to its cotton processing operations in Uzbekistan.
- In 2015, we launched our first campaign targeting the World Bank.
- That December, we took the campaign to their headquarters in Washington D.C. projecting images and video from the fields onto the building.
- Then in March 2016, we handed in 136,109 signatures to the World Bank President.
Sometimes progress feels too slow and our impact questionable. But when the government starts saying the right things, against all the odds, we know that by acting together, we then have the power to make change happen!
Let’s keep going and make sure words lead to action.
Joanna and Miriam with everyone at Freedom United
P.S. Have you considered becoming a monthly donor?
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