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Child labour in Uzbekistan, North Korea

| November 8, 2011 | 0 Comments

The start of the academic year in Uzbekistan coincides with the annual cotton harvest and, every year, thousands of students are mobilised to do the picking, despite the violation of international labour laws. The harvest lasts until the start of winter, and only those at the most prestigious universities in Tashkent are exempt. Cotton is a crucial component of the country’s economy.

This year students complained about unusually harsh conditions, including being allowed only four hours of sleep per night, being denied drinking water, and suffering harsh reprimands and excessive daily quotas. Additionally, some maintain they were expelled from university for failing to pick sufficient cotton.

And in North Korea, students complain about having to help construct houses and collect medicinal herbs for the purpose of ‘loyal foreign currency earning’ during an enforced ‘medicinal herb vacation’.

Professor Lee Ae Ran, the first female defector to earn a doctorate in South Korea, said: “The medicinal herb vacation has been carried out more actively and intensively in medical colleges.”

Category: Summer 2011

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