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World Bank in violation of intl. law for providing loans linked to forced labour to Uzbek Govt., says report

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Article
14 September 2016

World Bank criticised over Uzbek cotton loans

Author: Leonie Barrie, Just Style (UK)

The World Bank has been accused of potentially violating international law by providing agricultural loans to the government of Uzbekistan, which uses forced labour in the country's cotton sector... In November the World bank said ILO monitoring found no conclusive information that beneficiries of World Bank-supported projects used child or forced labour during the 2015 cotton harvest.  However, it expressed "serious concerns" about the risks of forced labour associated with the widespread organised recruitment of adults for cotton harvesting.

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Report
1 September 2016

Financing Forced Labor. The Legal and Policy Implications of World Bank Loans to the Government of Uzbekistan

Author: International Labor Rights Forum (USA)

...The Uzbek government has forced farmers to deliver annual production quotas and citizens to harvest cotton and perform other field work, all under menace of penalty...The Government of Uzbekistan is primarily responsible for the perpetration of its forced labor system, but two other actors have contributed to its longevity: the World Bank Group and global brands.  Since 1995, the Uzbek system has been sustained in part through loans to the Government...While the UN and the ILO have annually found the Government of Uzbekistan to be in violation of international labor and human rights standards concerning forced labor, neither institution has extended or exercised its authority to consider whether the World Bank is violating international law by providing loans to the Government...This report provides the first comprehensive analysis of the legal implications of the World Bank’s decisions to continue lending to the Government of Uzbekistan when it is aware of a plausible link between its funds and the forced labor of Uzbek citizens...The purpose of this report is to inform all concerned stakeholders of the World Bank’s serious violations of international law and the potential legal consequences that may come to bear if it continues to provide loans to the Uzbek government when the risk of systematic forced labor in the country is real...It is hoped that this report will lead the World Bank, its member States, and its officers to seriously consider the comprehensive reforms needed to ensure the Bank no longer contributes to the perpetration of human rights abuses in countries where it operates.

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