Saturday, April 05, 2008

Cotton Boycott

A movement is underway to boycott Uzbek cotton over the country's child labor practices:
"Since the first appeals were voiced in November 2007, several European clothing chains decided to stop buying Uzbek cotton or clothes made from it. Finland's Marimekko and Estonia's Krenholm were the first. They were joined by Swedish retail giant H&M, Gap, Tesco (the world's third-largest retailer), Britain's largest retailer Marks and Spencer, as well as Debenhams, another British clothing chain.

"The move was significant as it could shake Uzbek cotton's position in Europe -- where one out of every four garments is made of Uzbek cotton.

"Vasila Inoyatova heads the Uzbek human rights group Ezgulik, which has conducted research and several surveys on the use of illegal child labor and campaigned against the practice.

"'Of course, Uzbek officials should not be indifferent to this [boycott]. And they are not. [But] I don't believe a boycott from one or two companies will have a great impact on the Uzbek cotton industry and force Uzbek authorities to change their practice,' Inoyatova told RFE/RL at the roundtable. 'But if there are many more such companies, the problem is going to catch global attention.'"



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