This project supports the Government of Uzbekistan's Obod Qishloq program, with the stated aim of empowering citizens and local communities to play a greater role in local development. This includes increasing access to essential basic infrastructure and services, and improved local governance processes in targeted rural communities and districts.
According to Bank documents, the results of this project will be measured through indicators such as:
Although this project endeavours to deliver needed infrastructure and ensure this development is community-based, the continued prevalence of forced labour under the larger Obod Qishloq programme, the restricted environment for communities to voice their opinions free from coercion, and the current capacity of civil society to meaningfully participate in these processes is concerning.
Despite government reforms, since the launch of the programme in May 2018, Uzbek-German Forum for Human Rights (UGF) has documented numerous reports and complaints from residents of Uzbekistan that local authorities are forcing employees of state-funded organisations to work without pay and carry out unskilled, and often dangerous, tasks.
There is an ongoing and high risk of abuses, including evidence of state-organized mass forced labour, directly related to the Obod Qishloq programme, which this project supports. Given the plans and mitigation measures currently outlined in the World Bank’s project documents, there are challenges with the:
For additional details and civil society recommendations, see: https://ews.rightsindevelopment.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Letter-to-WB-AIIB-Board-re_-Obod-Qishloq.pdf
Senior Social Development Specialist
State Investment Committee of Uzbekistan
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