UZBEKISTAN: Students forced to harvest cotton

Thousands of university students in Uzbekistan are being mobilised to help with the annual cotton harvest and some say they are working under abusive conditions, reports the Uzbek Service of Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty.

The harvest lasts from the beginning of the academic year in September until late autumn and only students at prestigious universities in Tashkent are exempt from taking part.

The use of student and child labour to pick cotton violates state and international labour laws. Uzbek authorities have for years denied using students and young children in the country's cotton harvest, which is of paramount importance to the economy. Some students from the medical school in Andijon have said they are being forced to work in cotton fields under draconian conditions.
Full report on the Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty site