More than 300 deputies of the European Parliament demanded to ban the import into the territory of the European Union of products “produced in slavery by the Turkmen and Uighurs.” This is stated in a letter addressed to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen .
The authors of the letter emphasize that on September 15, 2021, Ursula von der Leyen, during her speech in the European Parliament, has already promised to impose a ban on products produced through forced labor. According to the deputies, now is the time to fulfill the promise.
“Shirts, shoes or cars made by enslaved Uyghurs, Turkmen or forced laborers from any other country should no longer be sold in our stores,” the MPs write.
The parliamentarians note the reality of fulfilling this requirement: “It is possible. The United States did it, and the European Union must do it. All we need is the political will of the European Commission. Any attempt to postpone or soften this decision is unacceptable. “
“This is a very timely appeal,” said Ruslan Myatiev, editor of turkmen.news . – The economic crisis in Turkmenistan is getting worse and the situation in the cotton fields is also getting worse. In particular, the number of children picking cotton is on the rise again. ”
“I hope that in the end the Turkmen authorities will change their approach to cotton production, transferring agriculture in general to market relations, and abandon the command-administrative method of management, which boils down to forcing the population, including children, to do something unusual for them”, – Farid Tukhbatullin, head of the Turkmen Initiative for Human Rights, commented on the situation .
In Turkmenistan, the government annually forces government officials to work on cotton plantations. In the conditions of the socio-economic crisis and unemployment in the country, public sector employees do not dispute the illegal actions of state bodies, as this threatens them with dismissal. As economic hostages of the employing state, people go to the fields and pick cotton by hand. In some cases, the government provides employees of budgetary organizations with the opportunity to “pay off the labor service” – they are not taken to the fields in person, but forced to donate money to pay wage workers who will pick cotton in their place.
In 2018, the US authorities imposed a ban on the import of cotton from Turkmenistan and products made from it. This decision was made on the basis of a complaint from turkmen.news and the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF). Unfortunately, we must state that sometimes the Turkmen authorities manage to circumvent this ban.
It should be noted that in addition to the state American initiative, there is also a private one. To date, more than a hundred companies, including Adidas, Nike, Burberry, and the H&M group of companies, have joined the commitment not to buy Turkmen cotton.
Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan