Ask your MP to sign EDM 1284 calling on the UK Government to avoid Uzbek cotton
Jan 24, 2011

Ask your MP to sign EDM 1284 calling on the UK Government to avoid Uzbek cotton

By EJF Staff

EJF has been actively lobbying the UK Government to take action, and now Stephen Gilbert MP has tabled Early Day Motion 1284 supporting our campaign. Send a letter now.

Our investigations in 2010 showed that the Uzbek Government continues to use forced child labour in the cotton harvest. Children as young as 10 are forced to work in the fields despite Uzbekistan signing international agreements to eradicate the practice. The Early Day Motion (EDM) 1284 calls on the UK Government to keep Uzbek cotton out of our hospital sheets, bank notes and military uniforms, using its influence as a large public procurer of cotton products to support an end to forced child labour in Uzbekistan.

So far, a cross-party group of MPs has already signed EDM 1284, but it is crucial that you write, call or email your MP and ask them to support it too. If enough MPs sign our EDM it could trigger a full debate on Uzbek cotton in the House of Commons.

  1. Find out who your MP is;
  2. Write them an email or a letter, asking them to sign EDM 1284 (you can use the one below). Include your full name and address when you write or email and only contact your local MP;
  3. Ask all your friends to do the same.

Please forward any responses you receive to and if you want to keep up-to-date with the progress of the campaign, why not sign up for EJF’s newsletter? You can copy and paste everything below into an email – then just fill in your details and your MP's name.

[Insert your address here]

Dear [MP surname],

Please sign Early Day Motion 1284 to help end forced child labour.

As one of your constituents I am asking you sign EDM 1284 calling on the Government to ensure Uzbek cotton produced using forced child labour does not end up in our military uniforms, hospital sheets or bank notes.

Cotton production in Uzbekistan relies on state-sponsored, forced child labour. Every year schools are closed during the harvest and hundreds of thousands of children as young as ten are sent into the fields to pick cotton without adequate food, water or protective clothing, for little or no pay. Children are forced to work long hours and in dangerous conditions for fear of expulsion, scolding or beatings, in order to reach Soviet-style cotton production quotas set by their government. The campaign for a ban on Uzbek cotton is being led by the Environmental Justice Foundation and has wide support from major international retailers such as Tesco, Walmart-Asda, Gap, C & A, and Marks & Spencer.

As my representative to Parliament, I urge you to add your signature to this EDM to show the UK is taking child labour seriously.

For your convenience, the text of the EDM is reproduced below.

More information on the campaign can be found at the Environmental Justice Foundation website

Thank you for your time and kind consideration.

Yours sincerely,

[Write your name here]


That this House is concerned that the Government and associated public bodies may be inadvertently supporting human rights abuses in the cotton production industry in Uzbekistan through the procurement of cotton products for military, emergency and national health services; notes that schools in Uzbekistan are closed as hundreds of thousands of children are forced to pick cotton; further notes that children, with inadequate clothing, food and water, undertake arduous physical labour to reach assigned daily picking quotas; is further concerned that child labour is state-sponsored; and calls on the Government to respond to the voluntary bans of Uzbek cotton by some of the world's largest retailers, using its influence to support an end to forced child labour in Uzbekistan.