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Producers of NY Fashion Week cancel show of Uzbek leader's daughter ahead of planned protest
NEW YORK (AP) ' The producers of New York's Fashion Week have canceled a show scheduled for next week by the daughter of the president of Uzbekistan amid pressure from a human rights group and a planned protest over the use of child labor in her country.
"As a result of various concerns raised we have canceled the Guli show on September 15th," IMG spokesman Zach Eichman said in an email Friday. He did not elaborate on the reasons.
Human Rights Watch, which had raised objections to the planned show because of what it calls widespread human rights abuses in Uzbekistan, applauded the decision.
"The decision by New York Fashion Week to cancel a show by the daughter of Uzbekistan's abusive ruler sends a message to the Uzbek government that its appalling human rights record is of global concern," the group said in a statement.
Adding to the pressure, the Washington-based International Labor Rights Forum had called for a two-hour protest to coincide with the Sept. 15 show. "Tell Gulnara Karimova: Forced Child Labor is Out of Style!" the group declared on its website.
Karimova is the eldest daughter of Uzbek leader Islam Karimov. She has held several positions in her country's government, including heading its diplomatic missions in Spain and at the United Nations office in Geneva, where she lives with her son and daughter.
A publicist for Karimova's fashion show did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.
The New York Post first reported the show's cancellation Friday evening. The paper had written earlier about the show.
Karimova has been involved in a number of charities. However, her image was dealt a blow recently with the release of U.S. diplomatic cables by Wikileaks.
"The discussion of the honest, hardworking (Gulnara), looking out for the best interests of her country, likely irks the many business people who have been crushed by Karimova and her greed as well as the general public, who view her as something of a robber baron," one dispatch reads.
In March, Human Rights Watch said it had been forced to close its office in Uzbekistan after facing years of harassment by the Central Asian nation's authorities.
Karimov has ruled Uzbekistan with an iron fist since 1989 when it was still part of the Soviet Union, stamping out all opposition and any signs of Islamic radicalism.
Fashion Writer Samantha Critchell in New York and Peter Leonard in Moscow contributed to this report.