Target: Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament
Goal: Don’t import cotton produced using inhumane forced labor.
Each year, during the cotton harvest in Uzbekistan, over a million people are forced to work picking cotton. This pulls medical professionals from hospitals, civil servants from government agencies, and private citizens from their businesses and families causing disruptions to education, healthcare, and businesses throughout the country. This forced labor, enforced by Uzbekistan’s government, goes to enrich a small percentage of the country’s population.
Due to concerns about labor standards in Uzbekistan, the E.U. parliament previously voted against opening European markets to Uzbekistan’s textiles. However, now the European Parliament is considering reopening trade with Uzbekistan. Proponents of opening trade argue that reductions in child labor amount to sufficient progress on labor and human rights. However, this amounts to a tacit endorsement of the forced labor policies. Sign our petition and demand that the E.U. uphold the labor and human rights and remain closed to textiles produced by forced labor.
Dear President Schulz ,
I was alarmed to hear that the European Parliament is considering lifting the hold on the Textile Protocol with Uzbekistan. The country’s cotton harvest is still marked by both human rights and labor rights violations with medical professionals, civil servants, and private individuals being forced to work in the fields. This compromises vital social services such as health care and education.
Proponents of lifting the hold on the Textile Protocol argue that, since 2013, fewer children have worked in the country’s cotton harvest. While this appears to be true, I would argue that it is a product of international pressure including the E.U.’s refusal to trade for textiles produced by child labor. This same pressure can be used to encourage higher labor standards and an abandonment of the forced labor system. I urge you to ensure that the Textile Protocol with Uzbekistan remains on hold.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: David Stanley