Forced labour scheme found in highstreet retailers supply chains

Forced labour found in highstreet retailers' supply chains

New Report from Clean Clothes Campaign finds bonded labour remains entrenched in highstreet fashion retailers’ supply chains.

The latest report released by Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland and their partners have found a bonded labour schemes targeting poverty stricken young girls as young as 15 in South India are supplying well known highstreet retailers including Primark, Motercare, C&A and Sainsbury’s among others.  

Flawed Fabrics an new report from Clean Clothes Campaign partners; the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) highlights serious labour rights and human rights violations faced by girls and young women in the South Indian textile hub of Tamil Nadu.

The report interviewed over 150 women and girls working in 5 of the estimated 1600 the spinning mills of Tamil Nadu, and found the practice of Sumangali schemes remains entrenched in the region. The Sumangali scheme is an employment arrangement targeting young girls recruited from marginalised Dalit communities in impoverished rural areas. Brought to the mills and factories on the promise of good wages, accommodation, three meals a day and the promise of a lump sum ‘dowry’ payment at the end of an agreed term, this report show that the vulnerable young girls find themselves in a very different situation.

Living in basic and over-crowded company-run hostels the girls interviewed faced restrictions of movement, rationed external communication and in many cases armed guards at the gates of compounds. Forced to work at least 60 hours a week in hostile and unhealthy conditions where night shifts and overtime are obligatory and pay is deducted in the case of illness.

A worker at Sulochana Cotton Spinning Mills said of her living conditions: “I do not like the hostel; there is no entertainment and no outside contact and is very far from the town. It is like a semi-prison.”  

Despite these significant breaches of worker and human rights, two of the researched mills received international certification (SA8000) from Social Accountability International (SAI) for adhering to international labour standards.

Kate Nolan of Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland states “On news of continued rising profits for low cost retailers like Penneys, we have to start to consider where these margins are realized. Buying practices including pricing need to allow for decent working conditions so that girls and young women in Tamil Nadu no longer have to face appalling working conditions that are tantamount to forced labour.“

Rosie O’Reilly of Re-dress, Ireland’s Sustainable Fashion Initiative comments

“The hallmark of a sustainable enterprise is not soaring profits but companies that show the means to encourage innovation and long-term planning around resource use and social responsibility. Companies should be creating more wealth than they destroy and should be building net wealth – social, ecological and economic. In the case of fast fashion brand Penneys and others named in this report this is not the case. There recent tie to Sumangali schemes in India illustrates this clearly as do the many reports released this year that link fashion brands to increasing environmental and humanitarian destruction. “

SOMO researcher and co-author of the report Martje Theuws says: “Business efforts are failing to address labour rights violations effectively. Corporate auditing is not geared towards detecting forced labour and other major labour rights infringements. Moreover, there is a near complete lack of supply chain transparency. Local trade unions and labour groups are consistently ignored.”

In addition, ICN programme officer Marijn Peepercamp states: “Governments at the buying end of the supply chain are failing to ensure that companies live up to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The state duty to protect and the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as laid down in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are not being respected.”

This is not the first time SOMO and ICN have reported the issue of forced labour in South India, the Captured by Cotton Report 2011  also raised the issue and produced many strong intentions to tackle the issue from multi stakeholders initiatives and retailers but to date we have seen little proof that their intentions are finding any path to changing the reality for these young girls.

 

Read the full reports here 

Flawed Fabrics Report 2014

Captured by Cotton Report 2011

 

 

3 years and counting, Thai activist Somyot remains in jail following charges of lese majesty

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Thai labour rights activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk was arrested on 30 April 2011 following publication of two articles in his magazine which the authorities claim offended the country’s ruling monarch.

Somyot has been accused of lèse majesté, the crime of insulting the king that carries up to 30 years of imprisonment. Lèse majesté has been widely used to silence labour and pro-democracy groups in Thailand.

After 21 months in arbitrary detention and being refused bail on ten separate applications, on 23 January 2013, Somyot was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment.
He was convicted by the Bangkok Criminal Court under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code (the lèse majesté law), the crime of insulting the monarchy.

The Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland is calling upon the Thai authorities to honour its numerous commitments to respect
human rights and fundamental freedoms and to drop all charges against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and all other human rights defenders detained under lèse majesté.

We also ask, more generally that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of restrictions, including judicial harassment.

 

Congratulations! Over 30 Global Brands have signed the Bangladesh Safety Accord.

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Congratulations!

Thanks to you major steps have been made to protect garment workers in over 1000 Bangladeshi factories.

Over million people worldwide signed the petitions.

More than 1,100 people died in the Rana Plaza building collapse, Bangladesh’s largest industrial tragedy, sparking a worldwide debate on how to improve safety.

The Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord was an opportunity to rectify the unacceptable risks currently faced by Bangladeshi garment workers because of poor standards on factory safety.

Work is now beginning on the implementation phase of the Accord. The aim is to have safety inspectors on the ground as quickly as possible in order to begin to fix the most urgent problems.

Primark has signed the Accord, along with 37 other retailers, including:
Abercrombie & Fitch, Marks and Spencer, Aldi North, Aldi South, Benetton, Bonmarche, C&A, Carrefour, Charles Vögele, Comtex, El Corte Inglés, Ernstings’s Family, Esprit, Fat Face, G-star, H&M, Hema, Inditex, jbc, John Lewis, Kik, Lidl, Loblaw, Mango, Mothercare, N Brown, New Look, Next, Otto Group, Primark, PVH, s.Oliver, Stockmann, Switcher, Tchibo, Tesco, V&D, We Europe

The next steps are to ensure compensation for the dead and injured of the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. Primark has already moved to provide compensation and emergency aid, but we need to call on the other brands to pay compensation.

Dunnes Stores continues to ignore correspondence and calls from TDs and Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland to sign the Accord. Here is a link to their Facebook page – why not ask them why they haven’t signed up yet?

More Good News!

We have more campaign success to announce. In a landmark victory, Adidas has agreed to compensate 2,800 Indonesian garment workers who were owed US $1.8 million in severance pay following the closure of sportswear factory PT Kizone in Indonesia. The agreement was reached in April and comes after two years of campaigning led by Kizone workers in Indonesia and labour rights activists worldwide, including the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Keeping in Touch!

You can also keep in touch with us and find out about campaigns and the latest news on Facebook and Twitter, which are updated regularly.

Images by Paul Roeland.

Remembering Aminul Islam – A year after his murder

Aminu One Yearl

April 4th 2013 marks the year anniversary of Aminul Islam.

Last year Aminul Islam was brutally tortured and murdered as a direct result of his work to improve working conditions for Bangladeshi garment workers.

This brutal torture and murder sent a direct message to those working in the industry of what their future would hold if they attempt to demand their basic human rights and challenge the unjust system.

The recent spate of factory fires in Bangladesh and Pakistan is a clear reminder of the daily struggle of garment works who make clothes for all our high street retailers.

Last year Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland launched an Urgent Appeal calling on the Bangladeshi government to properly investigate his murder, this was never done.

A year on, we remember the plight of Aminul whose life ended so tragically as a direct result of his humanity and good work. We continue to call on the Bangladesh Government to fully investigate his death and ensure the safety of trade unionists and garment workers.

Read more about his case on our website here, and here is a link to an article by the Solidarity Center of American Federation of Labor-Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) 

Free Somyot

WHO IS SOMYOT PRUKSAKASEMSUK?

Thai labour rights activist Somyot Pruksakasemsuk was arrested on 30 April 2011 following publication of two articles in his magazine which the authorities claim offended the country’s ruling monarch.

Somyot has been accused of lèse majesté, the crime of insulting the king that carries up to 30 years of imprisonment. Lèse majesté has been widely used to silence labour and pro-democracy groups in Thailand.

After 21 months in arbitrary detention and being refused bail on ten separate applications, on 23 January 2013, Somyot was sentenced to 11 years imprisonment. He was convicted by the Bangkok Criminal Court under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code (the lèse majesté law), the crime of insulting the monarchy.

BACKGROUND TO THE CASE
Somyot is founder of the Center for Labour and International Solidarity Thailand (CLIST) and has worked with the Clean Clothes Campaign on numerous campaigns and Urgent Appeals. He worked as a project coordinator for the International Chemical, Engineering and Mining Union Federation (ICEM) before devoting his time more exclusively to journalism and human-rights activism.

In 2010 Somyot was arrested and detained for three weeks for holding a news conference where he and others called for the resignation of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva following the bloody repression of a 3 month long anti-government “red-shirt” protest during which 90 people were killed and 2000 injured.

Somyot was arrested again in April 2011  on charges of lèse majesté and has been charged with the “publication and dissemination” of two articles in the journal Voice of Thaksin, of which he was the acting editor.

OUR DEMAND
The Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland is calling upon the Thai authorities to honour its numerous commitments to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to drop all charges against Somyot Prueksakasemsuk and all other human rights defenders detained under lèse majesté.

We also ask, more generally that all human rights defenders in Thailand are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of restrictions, including judicial harassment.

Read Somyot’s letter from prison here

For more information and regular updates from the trial, please go to: www.freesomyot.wordpress.com

ACT NOW

Sign and send your own letter to the Thai Prime Minister below calling for the immediate release of Somyot and all other human rights defenders detained under the lèse majesté laws.

[emailpetition id=”1″]

Conviction of Thai activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk greeted with international condemnation.

somyot image-by-Karnt ThassanaphakImage by Karnt Thassanaphak

 

On January 22nd 2013 the Bangkok Criminal Court convicted Somyot Prueksakasemsuk on 2 counts of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law*) and sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment.

Clean Clothes Campaign, together with the Free Somyot Campaign and the Thai Labour Campaign strongly deplores the conviction of human rights defender and magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk.

Somyot is a prisoner of conscience. He was convicted solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to participate in public life. He has been in detention since April 2011 for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. Today’s verdict is a serious blow to the rule of law in Thailand and will further contribute to self-censorship.

The verdict is a violation of international human rights law, in particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand has ratified. Currently, Thailand is running for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. CCC recalls that the UN Charter urges the General Assembly, where the election takes place, to consider candidates’ contribution “to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization,” (article 23.1 on criteria of membership of UNSC) including “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms” (article 1.3 of the UN Charter).

If Thailand is to be in compliance with its binding international legal obligations to respect and protect basic rights, this unjust verdict against Somyot should be promptly overturned on appeal. Additionally, while the appeal is being considered, his constitutional right to provisional release should be upheld so that he could reunite with his family, better attend to his medical conditions, and adequately prepare for his defense.

One political prisoner is one too many. CCC calls on Thailand to free Somyot and all other persons detained on politically-motivated charges and end all forms of harassment against them.

*Thailand’s lèse-majesté law prohibits any word or act, which “defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent”.
This law places the country in contravention of its international legal obligations to uphold international standards of freedom of expression.

News

January 22nd 2013

International condemnation of conviction of Thai activist Somyot Prueksakasemsuk

somyot image-by-Karnt ThassanaphakImage by Karnt Thassanaphak

 

 

Clean Clothes Campaign, together with the Free Somyot Campaign and the Thai Labour Campaign strongly deplores the conviction of human rights defender and magazine editor Somyot Prueksakasemsuk. Today, the Bangkok Criminal Court found him guilty on 2 counts of Article 112 of the Criminal Code (the lèse-majesté law*) and sentenced him to 11 years of imprisonment.

Somyot is a prisoner of conscience. He was convicted solely for the exercise of his right to freedom of expression and opinion and the right to participate in public life. He has been in detention since April 2011for the publication of two articles deemed insulting to the monarch. Today’s verdict is a serious blow to the rule of law in Thailand and will further contribute to self-censorship.

The verdict is a violation of international human rights law, in particularly the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Thailand has ratified. Currently, Thailand is running for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. CCC recalls that the UN Charter urges the General Assembly, where the election takes place, to consider candidates’ contribution “to the maintenance of international peace and security and to the other purposes of the Organization,” (article 23.1 on criteria of membership of UNSC) including “respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms” (article 1.3 of the UN Charter).

If Thailand is to be in compliance with its binding international legal obligations to respect and protect basic rights, this unjust verdict against Somyot should be promptly overturned on appeal. Additionally, while the appeal is being considered, his constitutional right to provisional release should be upheld so that he could reunite with his family, better attend to his medical conditions, and adequately prepare for his defense.

One political prisoner is one too many. CCC calls on Thailand to free Somyot and all other persons detained on politically-motivated charges and end all forms of harassment against them.

*Thailand’s lèse-majesté law prohibits any word or act, which “defames, insults, or threatens the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent, or the Regent”.
This law places the country in contravention of its international legal obligations to uphold international standards of freedom of expression.

NOVEMBER 26th

Bangladesh factory fire: brands accused of criminal negligence.

The Clean Clothes Campaign, along with trade unions and labour rights organisations in Bangladesh and around the world is calling for immediate action from international brands following yesterday’s fire in Dhaka Bangladesh, which cost the lives over one hundred garment workers.

The killed and injured workers were producing garments for international clothing brands when their factory, Tazreen Fashions, went up in flames. According to their website Tazreen produced for a host of well known brand names including C&A, Carrefour, KIK and Walmart.  The Clean Clothes Campaign believes that international brands have shown ongoing negligence in failing to address the safety issues highlighted by previous fires, and that this leaves them with responsibility for yet another tragic loss of life.

Many of the workers jumped to their deaths trying to escape from the six story building, others, unable to escape the blaze, were burned alive. The death toll continues to rise as rescue workers plough through the remains of the devastated factory. One fire fighter at the scene reported that there wasn’t a single fire exit on the outside of the factory.  First reports suggest the fire was started by an electrical short circuit. The cause of over 80% of all factory fires in Bangladesh are due to faulty wiring.

“These brands have known for years that many of the factories they choose to work with are death traps. Their failure to take action amounts to criminal negligence” says Ineke Zeldenrust from the Clean Clothes Campaign.

Together with our partners in Bangladesh the CCC is calling call for an independent and transparent investigation into the causes of the fire, for full and fair compensation to be paid to the victims and their families and importantly concrete action from all parties involved to prevent future tragedies.

“As we yet again mourn the loss of scores of garment workers in Bangladesh, we demand that brands step up their game. Tragedy after tragedy underlines our belief that simple, cosmetic changes to existing programmes simply aren’t enough. Action needs to be taken to address the root causes of these fires” said Ms Zeldenrust.

The CCC, together with local and global unions and labour rights organisations has developed a sector-wide program for action that includes an programme of independent and transparent inspections, an obligatory upgrading of the buildings supplying participating brands, a review of all existing laws and safety regulations, a commitment to pay prices that can cover the costs involved and the direct involvement of trade unions in worker training on health and safety. The Clean Clothes campaign is now renewing its demand for brands need to sign on immediately.

The employers and government of Bangladesh must also take their share of responsibility. The government must carry out an immediate investigation of the causes of the fire and prosecute those whose negligence has caused the death of these women and men. It must also invest in a country-wide programme of inspections to ensure that the buildings currently in use a fit for purpose and the buildings and wiring meet safety standards. All factory owners in Bangladesh must immediately review the safety procedures in place at their factories, carry out checks on he building and electrical safety and, most importantly, start working with trade unions to train their workers on safety procedures and allow space for workers to voice their concerns.

The Clean Campaign will continue to work with out partners on the ground to establish the full facts of the case and to push for justice for those affected by this terrible tragedy. In the meantime we call on all those with a stake in Bangladesh garment industry to move on from mere hand wringing and towards meaningful and concrete action to prevent such a horrific loss of life from happening in the future.

NOVEMBER 24th

Garment tribunal verdict finds systematic human rights abuse 
Multinational brands urged to respond to demands 
The verdict of a tribunal to assess human rights abuses faced by workers in the Indian garment industry was announced today in Bangalore.
Judges found overwhelming evidence of ‘grave and systematic violations of individual and collective human rights’ suffered by garment workers and called for immediate action to be taken by a variety of stakeholders.
The verdict follows a two day hearing in which over 250 garment workers from Gurgaon, Tirupur and Bangalore gathered to give evidence pointing to the fact that a living wage and decent working conditions are a pressing necessity in the industry.
“You end up like a machine working on a machine,” said 36-year-old garment worker Ashok Kumar, about the inhuman production targets at factories. Ashkok is a from a Gurgaon factory producing for high street brands such as GAP, H&M and Next.
The jury findings focused on the urgency for a living wage to be paid to workers, and gave evidence of its status as a human right that must be addressed. It further acknowledged the prevelance of illegal compulsory overtime, inhuman productivity measures, systematic denial of social security payments, sexual harassment and gender discrimination, and active suppression of the right to freedom of association in the industry.
The judges stressed that multinational brands must acknowledge their complicity in the rights violations described. This statement came in response to evidence presented by representatives from the fashion brand H&M who had attended the tribunal on Thursday – the brand had focused its submission on speaking about training suppliers to take more responsibility for upholding rights.
Judges also gave recommendations for action to be taken by Indian government, state officials and labour officers, trade unions, ILO, international brands, national companies and suppliers.
“The tribunal reveals a chasm between the CSR speak of international garment companies and the real situation faced by Asian garment workers,” said Ms. Anannya Bhattacharjee, co-ordinator of the International Asia Floor Wage Alliance. “The wage issue is a cross border problem and needs to be addressed as such. International players must work together and use the Asia Floor Wage figure to combat poverty pay in the garment sector.”
Dr. Jeroen Merk, of the International Clean Clothes Campaign said, “Without garment workers the world would walk around naked, yet the value apportioned to their contribution is not acknowledged financially.”
Contact: Anna McMullen; anna@labourbehindthelabel.org; m:+91 9742736150 (in Bangalore)
1.Available for interview:
Ms. Anannya Bhattacharjee, coordinator for Asia Floor Wage Alliance, +919810970627
Dr. Jeroen Merk, Clean Clothes Campaign International Secretariat, + 31646744662
2.The ‘National People’s Tribunal on the Right to a Living Wage’, is taking place from 22-25th November in Bangalore – one of India’s garment production centres. It has been organised by the International Asia Floor Wage Alliance in collaboration with Indian garment workers’ trade unions and workers’ rights groups, and seeks to make public the relevant concerns of those employed in the Indian garment sector.
3.The Permanent People’s Tribunal movement was set up to highlight systematic human rights abuses, and present recommendations for remediation in a global context. Sessions of the tribunal have focused on issues such the Bhopal disaster, and American intervention in the Brazian Amazon.
4.The People’s Tribunal in India is the third of its kind to be held on issues in the garment industry, the first being held in Sri Lanka in 2011 and the second in Cambodia earlier in 2012.
5. High resolution photos are available on request: See http://www.facebook.com/AsiaFloorWage/photos_stream for previews.
6. Further information and notes from the Tribunal’s proceedings have been posted on:
Twitter: #wagetrial
7. A copy of the judges’ verdict can be found here: http://asiafloorwage.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/jury_statement_and_verdict.doc

Clean Clothes Campaign calls on brands sourcing from Pakistan to undertake immediate reviews of their suppliers.

On Wednesday September 11th three fires at separate garment factories in Russia and Pakistan claimed the lives of over 300 workers.  Just nine days later, a fire in a slum on the outskirts of Dakha Bangladesh left 4000 people homeless, most of whom were garment workers from nearby factories.

The first factory based in Lahore, Pakistan, produced shoes. The factory had only one exit route which also doubled as the entrance. When the fire broke out close to the entrance the workers were trapped inside. Firefighters had to break holes in the factory walls in an attempt to rescue the workers. Pakistani papers report that of the 25 workers that died, almost half were teenagers, some as young as 13.

In Russia, the fire killed 14 Vietnamese migrant workers who were said to have been locked into the factory.

The second Pakistani factory was based in Karachi. Here 289 people died, in Ali Enterprises, a factory producing jeans for a German discount retailer KIK. Reports say that security exits were locked, windows were barred and there were no fire extinguishers on the premise. Identification of the dead has been hindered by the fact that workers were undocumented and without contracts.

The factory run by Ali Enterprises Inc, had been audited and accredited with the SA8000 certificate of social compliance as recently as August 2012, just a month before the fire took place. The SA8000 is a certificate awarded by Social Accountability International a US based monitoring group who approve safety standards.  Social Accountability International describes itself as a “non-governmental, multi-stakeholder organization whose mission is to advance the human rights of workers around the world.  It partners to advance the human rights of workers and to eliminate sweatshops by promoting ethical working conditions, labor rights, corporate social responsibility and social dialogue”. Ali Enterprises was awarded the certificate by RINA, an Italian based global certification body accredited by Social Accountability International.

Both Social Accountability International and RINA have issued statements regarding the fire but a full report is yet to be released answering the crucial question: How was the Ali Enterprise factory in question issued with a certificate of decent work one month before a deadly fire, where there was clear breaches of safety standards? The National Trade Union Federation in Karachi state that although the high death toll at Ali Enterprises had led to extensive coverage of the fire, this is not an isolated incident but a regular occurrence in an industry that is poorly regulated.

These tragic incidents highlight the spectrum of injustices that occur in the supply chain of the global garment and fast fashion industry and bring to the fore yet again, the issue of workers rights within the global garment manufacturing industry. From health and safety at work to the right to a decent wage,  the price workers are paying for keeping our high street stores stocked with ever changing latest fashions at the cheapest prices is not just calculable in dollars and cents.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is working to motivate the public, retailers and brands as well as the government and international community to afford positive change within the clothing manufacturing industry. Speaking on behalf of CCC Ireland Rosie O’ Reilly  says “Considering Ireland imported €106 million worth of textiles and clothing from Bangladesh and Pakistan alone, it is time for buyers to take more responsibility. They must ensure the goods they source are being produced in an environment safe for workers where their rights are being respected, with this in mind we are calling on Irish retailers to take immediate reviews of their supply chain” stressing that similar disasters could happen again if the root causes of these fires are not addressed urgently.

The Clean Clothes Campaign is currently working on various campaigns to improve the situation for workers in the garment industry.

Aminul Islam was a former garment worker and trade union leader who was tortured and murdered as a result of his work to improve conditions in the Bangladesh garment sector. The CCC are working with Aminul’s family and friends in seeking justice for his death, as so far police efforts have been minimal. Learn more.

Somyot is a trade union leader facing up to 15 years in prison in Thailand. Having just had his 10th application for bail refused, Somyot is now entering his 18th month in prison on charges of Lese Majeste – the crime of insulting the Monarchy of Thailand. Somyot is a long standing supporter of garment workers and has been imprisoned in connection to an article that was publised in a magazine that he edits.  Learn more

– Clare Nally

Karachi Factory Fire Kills 325

KARACHIsmall

UPDATE FEBURARY 2013

The official death toll is now 262.  After initial reports, the Pakistani government has now put the death toll at 262.

September 11th 2012

325 garment workers die in horrific garment factory fire in Karachi, Pakistan. The fire which broke out on Tuesday evening 11th September, has killed over 325 garment workers with reports that the death toll is expected to rise.

Reports from Pakistan indicate that poor building safety was responsible for the large death toll and that government inspectors had not visited any factories in the industrial zone where the fire took place. Unconfirmed reports indicate that well known brands were producing in the factory and Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland is awaiting documentary evidence of the same.

 This is once again, a stark reminder of the real cost of the fast and cheap, disposable fashion we have become accustomed to. 325 people have been reported dead but this is expected to rise over the next few days. In this case as with the many others that continue to happen within the garment supply chain,  these deaths could have been avoided. Emergency exits were absent or locked, and workers were trapped. This is the usual pattern. It is well known that many workplaces are unsafe, and that workers in key producing countries risk their lives on a daily basis producing clothes for Europe and the USA.

The Clean Clothes Campaign Ireland have introduced the Urgent Appeals campaigns to highlight those issues that most urgently need the public’s attention. Cymehemricomp CCCI are focusing on three campaigns, Deadly Denim, Free Somyot and Justice for Aminul Islam all of which call for actions by members the public to show their support and solidarity for human rights defenders in garment producing countries. However it is incidents like this tragic and needless loss of life that highlights the true cost of the fashion industry’s drive for low prices and high volume and is another reminder of the constant battle workers face to garner their basic human rights.

UPDATE

October 15th 2012

Ali Enterprises was awarded an SA8000 certificate of compliance despite never having been legally registered and having failed to provide employment contracts.

The SA8000 is an internationally recognised certificate of compliance awarded to factories that reach certain acceptable standards in the workplace.

Social Accountability International, the governing body which overseas the registration of auditors and certifying bodies has suspended it’s work with Italian based RINA Group who were directly responsible for accrediting the factory.

Read SAI response here

 

 

September 14th 2012

Pakistani authorities this morning have charged the factory owner and managers with murder.

 

ORLA GUERIN REPORT FROM KARACHI

ACT NOW. 

Send your letter to the Pakistani Ambassador to Ireland.

[emailpetition id=”3″]

Bangladeshi Labour Right Activist Murdered.

Aminul Islam
Aminul Islam


WHO IS AMINUL ISLAM
Aminul Islam is a Bangladeshi labour rights activist and former garment worker who was tortured and murdered in Dhaka on April 4 2012, his body was dumped outside the capital city and found by local police. To date no one has been arrested or brought to trial for his murder.

BACKGROUND TO THE CASE
Aminul 39,  worked for the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) and the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF).

In June 2010 Aminul was detained by officials of the Bangladesh National Intelligence Service (NSI) where  he reported he was subjected to severe and repeated beatings.

On the evening of the 4th, after having observed a police van parked outside, Aminul and a colleague had closed the local BCWS office fearing harassment or arrest. He was last seen alive leaving his office to meet with a worker who had called seeking assistance. According to the police report, Aminul Islam’s body bore signs of brutal torture.

BANGLADESH AND LABOUR RIGHTS
Repression against trade unionists and labour rights activists in Bangladesh is a serious problem, and worker protests have been met with violence many times. In particular, the wage protests of 2010 resulted in hundreds of arrests of workers and trade unionists including Aminul himself.

According to Aminul, during his detention in 2010 he was subjected to severe beatings at the hands of the National Intelligence Service (NSI) who according to his  statement,were looking to force false testimony incriminating his colleagues.

Dozens of labour leaders are still facing charges of instigating riots and related activities; charges regarded as baseless by international labour and human rights organisations.

OUR DEMAND
CCC is calling for the Bangladeshi authorities to launch an immediate and impartial investigation into the killing and for them to work tirelessly to bring the perpetrators to justice. We are also calling on supporters worldwide, including EU missions and other organisations to generate similar pressure on the Bangladeshi authorities in order to stop the culture of impunity that has led to this tragic murder.

Send a letter to the Bangladesh government now calling for justice for Aminul!