In the News

World's Biggest Wealth Fund Awaits Verdict on Textile Makers

Bloomberg
10/01/2015
The ethics council that guides Norway’s $820 billion sovereign wealth fund is zeroing in on the textile industry for breaching its standards in a development that may lead to some companies being excluded from the fund’s portfolio.
 
In a study of about 400 textile manufacturers, about “two handfuls” have been singled out and contacted, Johan H. Andresen, the chairman of Norway’s Council on Ethics, said in an interview on Thursday at his office on the outskirts of Oslo.
 

H&M "Dramatically" Lagging Behind in Bangladesh Fire, Safety Repairs

Ecouterre
10/01/2015

Two years after the deadliest industrial disaster in the history of apparel manufacturing, H&M is “dramatically” lagging behind on correcting the fire and safety hazards in its factories in Bangladesh, according to a joint report released by the International Labor Rights Forum, Clean Clothes Campaign, Maquila Solidarity Network, and Workers Rights Consortium on Thursday.

Uzbekistan activists beaten and detained

The Week
09/29/2015

Uzbekistan, a country with a long history of suspected human rights violations, has been in the headlines again this week for all the wrong reasons. With two activists detained and beaten and the government curtailing citizens' freedoms, the international community is beginning to pay closer to attention to the former Soviet state.

(Continue reading the article from the original website here...)

Forced Labor Persists in Uzbek Cotton Harvest

The Diplomat
09/25/2015
The cotton harvest is underway in Central Asia again, and in due course citizens in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan are being coerced into picking cotton. In the U.S. State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons report, released in late July, Uzbekistan was graced with an upgrade, ostensibly for making progress with regard to child labor.
 
In the report, the U.S. State Department writes that the “Government of Uzbekistan does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking; however, it is making significant efforts to do so.”

Forced Labour Rampant in Uzbekistan Cotton Harvest

Equal Times
09/22/2015
Health care workers toiling in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan are to be joined by third- and fourth-year university students forced by the government to labour in the country’s annual autumn harvest, according to stories compiled by the Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights.
 
The non-profit organisation has also highlighted news that minors again may be forced into picking cotton.
 

Uzbekistan Is Forcing 'Volunteers' to Toil in Its Cotton Fields

Vice News
09/15/2015
Cotton is ever-present in our lives. It is in the clothes we wear, the towels in our bathrooms, our bed linen, even bank notes we pay with are made with cotton.
 
What is little known however is that vast amounts of the world's cotton are produced in slavery-like conditions in Central Asia. And while many are concerned about the sweatshops of Bangladesh and India, few would have heard about the forced labor of their own citizens organized by the governments of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan.
 

Pacific trade negotiators face high-wire act in Hawaii

Reuters
07/27/2015
Pacific Rim officials meet in Hawaii this week for talks that could make or break an ambitious trade deal which aims to boost growth and set common standards across a dozen economies ranging from the United States to Brunei.
 
Trade ministers go into the talks, which run from July 28 to 31 on the island of Maui, with high hopes of a pact to conclude the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the most sweeping trade deal in a generation and a legacy-defining achievement for U.S. President Barack Obama.
 

Democrat spotlights Peru labor complaint

The Hill
07/23/2015
The top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday welcomed a complaint against Peru’s government for alleged labor violations ahead of what could be the final round of talks on a sweeping Asia-Pacific trade deal. 
 
Rep. Sandy Levin of Michigan said that the complaint shines the light on workers rights issues and that the United States must ensure that labor protections in all Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries, including Vietnam, Mexico, Malaysia and Peru.
 

Candy makers fire back on forced labor

The Hill
05/16/2015
While the NCA stopped short of endorsing an end to the exemption, the group stressed that companies have not “utilized any provision of the more than 80-year-old customs law to import cocoa” for their products from West Africa.
 
“We’re working very hard to change the labor conditions in their region,” said Christopher Gindlesperger, the NCA’s vice president of government affairs.
 

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