Statement on World Day Against Child Labor

In observance of the World Day Against Child Labor, established by the United Nations’ (UN) International Labor Organization (ILO), the U.S. government commends the Government of Uzbekistan on its efforts to eliminate child labor in the cotton sector, and collaboration with the ILO and World Bank.  The U.S. government is proud to assist these efforts by funding the ILO to support the government’s implementation of its Decent Work Country Program, aimed at eliminating child and forced labor, and protecting the rights of Uzbekistan’s workers.  While the number of children participating in the annual harvest has been greatly reduced in recent years, in 2014, there were still credible reports of school classes being mobilized to harvest cotton toward the end of the season.  The U.S. government urges the Government of Uzbekistan to take all measures necessary to eliminate child labor during the 2015 harvest.

The U.S. government joins the UN and the ILO in supporting  this year’s focus of the World Day Against Child Labor on the importance of quality education. The U.S. government notes Uzbekistan’s significant investment in early childhood education, which complements its $50 million Global Partnership for Education grant and demonstrates its commitment to investing in the country’s youth and future.  However, the widespread mobilization of teachers and health workers to harvest cotton during school hours undermines the quality of education these students receive.  The U.S. government urges the Government of Uzbekistan to ensure that participation in the 2015 harvest by these workers meets national and international standards and does not interfere with their primary responsibility and important work.