Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s long-serving authoritarian ruler Islam Karimov died in fall 2016 following almost 27 years of rule. But his death and the installation of former Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyoyev as president failed to usher in any meaningful improvements in Uzbekistan’s abysmal human rights record. Thousands of people are imprisoned on politically motivated charges. Torture is endemic in the criminal justice system. Authorities continue to crackdown on civil society activists, opposition members, and journalists. Muslims and Christians who practice their religion outside strict state controls are persecuted, and freedom of expression is severely limited. The government forces more than a million adults and some children to harvest cotton under abusive conditions. Authorities still deny justice for the 2005 Andijan massacre, in which government forces shot and killed hundreds of protesters. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people face deep-rooted homophobia and discrimination.

 

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Forced labor, including children - linked to World Bank

Forced labor, including children - linked to World Bank

Each year Uzbekistan, one of the world’s largest exporters of cotton, forces many people, including children, to work in the cotton fields for weeks in arduous conditions. Nurses and teachers are among those targeted, undermining access to health care and education.