Uzbek Forum for Human Rights is a Berlin-based NGO dedicated to protecting human rights and strengthening and promoting civil society in Uzbekistan. Uzbek Forum has special expertise on labor rights and regularly conducts research in the field of business and human rights.
Since 2009, Uzbek Forum has worked with a network of local human rights activists in Uzbekistan, often working undercover for fear of reprisals by the Uzbek authorities, to expose human rights violations. Uzbek Forum’s network has conducted extensive monitoring of forced and child labor in Uzbekistan’s cotton and agriculture sectors and has compiled the most comprehensive archive of labor rights violations in the Central Asian region.
Uzbek Forum is the only NGO working with a network of local monitors inside the country who have intimate knowledge of their communities and the social and political landscape of Uzbekistan. Uzbek Forum was founded and is led by the award-winning human rights activist, Umida Niyazova, who was forced to flee her native Uzbekistan in 2008 because of her human rights work.
Uzbek Forum submits reports to international human rights mechanisms on systemic human rights violations that are outside the focus of international organizations. In the course of its work, Uzbek Forum has submitted more than 20 reports on forced labor in the silk and cotton sectors, freedom of movement, corruption, surveillance by Mahalla Committees and torture. In addition, Uzbek Forum has published dozens of articles and reports on human rights issues which are disseminated in regional and international media outlets.
Uzbek Forum collaborates with other human rights organizations and has published joint reports with Human Rights Watch (HRW) and Solidarity Center, maximizing visibility and leverage in the international arena. Uzbek Forum is a frontline partner of the Cotton Campaign, a global coalition of NGOs, trade unions, retailers and investors dedicated to eradicating child and forced labor in the cotton industry. The Cotton Campaign’s strategy and messaging is informed by Uzbek Forum’s reports, based on witness testimonies, photographic and audio materials gathered by our courageous and skilled monitors. In 2016, Uzbek Forum’s monitors received the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) Defenders Award for their outstanding work.