16 Sep 2011

Fashion Week Cancels Show of Uzbek Dictator’s Daughter

Enslaving children and torturing dissidents is never chic.

The daughter of Uzbekistan’s dictator planned to unveil her spring fashion line at New York City’s prestigious Fashion Week. But her show was cancelled after Human Rights Watch and a coalition of like-minded organizations spotlighted her connection to her father’s tyrannical government.

uzbek-gulnara

Gulnara Karimova isn’t just the eldest daughter of Islam Karimov – Uzbekistan’s autocratic leader since the Soviet era – she also serves as the government’s ambassador to Spain and the United Nations, a high-level position in a regime known for imprisoning and torturing political opponents and rights activists. Her father’s government forces up to two million Uzbek children to leave school for two months each year to pick cotton – a fabric woven throughout Karimova’s designs.

Karimova maintains a jet-setter lifestyle, which includes making a pop video with Julio Iglesias and launching her fashion line “Guli.” But according to a cable released by Wikileaks, US diplomats said most Uzbeks view her as “a greedy, power-hungry individual who uses her father to crush business people or anyone else who stands in her way.”

Human Rights Watch