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Progress in Bangladesh?

After 30 years of unsafe and abusive conditions, consistent repression of union organizing, and the lowest wages in the world, Bangladesh’s apparel industry is today the testing ground for massive industry reform initiatives.   The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a legally-binding agreement between 180 apparel companies and 12 unions, has introduced accountability and transparency in an industry where social responsibility has meant voluntary efforts and private reporting.  The U.S. Government has appropriately demanded genuine freedom of association as a condition of trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in a country where labor leaders and union members have been fired, harassed, imprisoned, tortured, and even killed with impunity.

VF Inspections Fail to Prevent Latest Bangladesh Factory Fire

Before the Tazreen fire of November 2012 and the Rana Plaza building collapse of April 2013 made international headlines, safety incidents were a regular occurrence in Bangladesh. And they continue to be. According to the Solidarity Center, in the past year and a half – and not including Tazreen and Rana Plaza – at least 26 workers have been killed and 823 injured in 57 separate incidents in Bangladesh garment factories.

Ten Reasons the U.S. Should Maintain Uzbekistan at Tier 3 in the TIP Report

The US Government releases the TIP Report June 20. “The Government of Uzbekistan remains one of only a handful of governments around the world that subjects its citizens to forced labor through implementation of state policy,” reported the US Government in the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report. This tragic reality has not changed.

How Companies Can Address Human Trafficking in Thai Seafood Industry

Last week, the Guardian reported that Thai exporter CP Foods purchases fish meal for its shrimp stock made with fish caught by human trafficking victims aboard Thai fishing vessels. The fishermen reported brutal physical violence, even murder, regularly occurring on boats. The report identified major retailers – including Walmart, Costco, Tesco and Carrefour –buying shrimp from CP Foods, a groundbreaking link between forced labor in the “trash fish” industry in Thailand and the seafood on menus and in grocery store freezers around the world.

Discrimination at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

In a letter sent today to the Board of Broadcasting Governors (BBG), the International Labor Rights Forum calls for the U.S. Government agency to end discriminatory employment policies at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and implement the U.S. Government’s commitments under the OECD Guidelines for Multi-national Enterprises and the United Nations’ Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
 

Mr. Jeffrey Shell
Chairman
Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG)
330 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20237
U.S.A

June 13, 2014

Dear Mr. Shell,

25 Cambodian Detainees Released, Charges Remain

This morning the remaining 22 of the 25 people - garment workers, trade unionists, monks, activists, bystanders - who were arrested in Cambodia on November 12 and January 2 and 3 amidst strikes for higher wages were finally released from prison. Labor and human rights organizations who had been calling for their freedom celebrated their release today as they also firmly called for the dropping of the sentences. The freed detainees have received suspended sentences of one to four-and-a-half years of imprisonment. Several were also fined 8 million riel ($2,000).

Advocate for migrant workers in Thailand under threat

ILRF is concerned about the most recent charges brought against labor rights activist Andy Hall by the Natural Fruit Company. Hall now faces four defamation charges (both civil and criminal) and two charges under the Computer Crimes Act. Natural Fruit is a Thai export company producing pineapple juice and dried fruit. The NGO Finnwatch has published two reports documenting poor labor conditions in the Natural Fruit factory, including child labor, failure to pay overtime, confiscation of migrant workers’ passports, and conditions that amount to human trafficking.

Does the De-Facto Government Think It Can Afford to Lose Cambodia's Largest Buyers?

This week high level discussions took place between representatives of the de-facto government and major international brands sourcing Cambodian garments. As the trial of the 23 approaches, the message communicated was clear: “due to [the] reaction of consumers and the disruptionto production and shipping caused by continued unrest, Cambodia [is] at risk of losing its status as a strategic sourcing market, with an impact on future investment and growth.”

May Day 2014: Build a United Struggle for a Just Economy, an Egalitarian Society and a Democratic Polity

Low wages dragged down further as workers are forced to migrate in search of jobs, the lack of employment opportunities and increasing income inequality have contributed to rising social marginalisation.  Women, dalits, adivasis, other oppressed castes and religious minorities, in particular muslims have been pushed to the margins of the labour market, if not out of it. They are not just losing opportunities of employment but also the opportunity of social mobility from one generation to the next. Low incomes and irregular jobs have affected access to adequate healthcare and a quality education, both of which constitute the key recognised necessities for intergenerational social mobility.

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