Gulnara Karimova at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East, 2009
Once again, Gulnara Karimova, the controversial daughter of Uzbekistan's President Islam Karimov, will be on the runway during Fashion Week in New York City this fall as she was last year.
Mercedes Benz, sponsor of the Fashion Week September 8-15, announced today that Gulnara is on the calendar to show her Guli label. The dictator's daughter is described as being very well educated, with a Ph.D. in political science from the University of World Economy and Diplomacy in Tashkent.
Various labor and human rights groups campaigning against the use of forced child labor in the cotton industry are expected to mount protests in New York.
Such organizations as the International Labor Rights Forum have recently been petitioning successfully to get brands like Carter's, Gymboree and The Children's Place to pledge not to source their cotton in Uzbekistan. Earlier, Marks & Spencer, Target, Gap, C&A, H&M, Wal-Mart and Tesco were among the companies that pledged to avoid Uzbek cotton.
The International Labor Organization has expressed grave concerns about the allegations of forced child labor in Uzbekistan, but the government has refused to invite the ILO into the country for an inspection of conditions during the cotton harvest.