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UN Welcomes Turkmen Law Banning Child Labor

5 February 2005 -- The UN Children's Fund UNICEF today welcomed Turkmenistan's passing of a law prohibiting the use of child labor.

UNICEF's representative in Turkmenistan, Mahboob Shareef, said in a written statement that the UN body "strongly supports" the move.

Children in Turkmenistan have long been called upon to help bring in the harvest, especially cotton, during the fall instead of going to school.

The U.S. State Department noted in its human rights report for 2003 that the government strongly encouraged children to help in the cotton harvest.

Part of the reason behind the ban on child labor in the fields is due to a new requirement that members of Turkmenistan's armed forces contribute to harvesting crops as well as performing their regular duties.