House of Lords
Lord Hylton (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made or will make to the Government of Uzbekistan about their stated intention of ending compulsory child labour in the cotton harvest; and whether observers from the International Labour Organisation will have access to the 2012 cotton harvest.
Lord Howell of Guildford (Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office; Conservative)
We have no illusions about the human rights situation in Uzbekistan. Our annual human rights report sets out our concerns in detail, including our long-standing concerns about the use of child labour during the cotton harvest.
There were some relatively positive indications that the Uzbek authorities made an effort in 2011 to reduce the number of children (particularly the youngest) working in the fields. We welcome this but remain concerned by the continuing gap between legislative measures taken by the Uzbek authorities and practical implementation. We continue to raise these concerns in discussions with the Uzbek Government, and through the European Union.
It is not yet clear whether observers from the International Labour Organisation will have access to monitor the 2012 cotton harvest. There have been encouraging signs of greater dialogue between International Labour Organisation (ILO) representatives and the Uzbek authorities during 2012, including through a seminar held in Tashkent in early May at which ILO participated.