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How the U.S. Government Can Follow Its Own Advice to Be a Responsible Consumer

Today, the New York Times reports child labor, blocked fire exits, unsafe buildings, forced overtime and a range of other illegal, unsafe, and abusive conditions for garment workers in factories in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Haiti, Mexico, and Thailand.  These factories have at least one thing in common: the United States government is a customer.

Bangladesh garment factory crisis is a women's crisis

The crisis in the Bangladesh Apparel industry is really a women’s issue and something all advocates of women’s rights and equality should be deeply concerned about. To be clear, we are not talking here about individual cases of discrimination at work and the need for more equitable labor justice – although there is a need for improving that as well.

Workers Give Message to RSPO: Don’t Certify Abuse!

Medan, Indonesia—This week hundreds of oil palm workers and their allies crashed the 11th annual meeting of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a multi-stakeholder organization that promotes “sustainable” palm oil, to protest the organization’s failure to uphold its own labor standards. 

Arriving in colorful rain jackets on motorbikes and small pick-ups, the protesters braved a torrential downpour to deliver a blunt message to the RSPO: Stop certifying worker exploitation.

PALEA Back as Regular Workers in Pact with PAL

The union Philippine Airlines Employees' Association (PALEA) hailed a settlement agreement signed today with the management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) that provides for the re-employment of some 600 members as regular workers. In a private ceremony in a downtown hotel in Mandaluyong at noon, officers of PAL and PALEA signed the agreement.

ILRF Loses Leading Child Rights Advocate

All of us at ILRF were tremendously saddened to learn that U. Roberto Romano – our beloved Robin – passed away at his home last week. Robin was a tireless advocate for children’s rights, as well as an inspiring and supportive colleague. He was also an amazing cinematographer and highly acclaimed filmmaker, who dedicated his life to reporting on and exposing the exploitation of children.

The U.S. Government Should Require Progress on Human, Land, and Labor Rights Prior to Reinstatement of GSP Trade Benefits for Burma

ILRF and other concerned organizations urge the Obama Administration to require concrete, measurable progress on labor and land rights and environmental protection in Burma before its trade benefits could be reinstated under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). In addition, the products of extractive industries and plantation agriculture should be excluded from any initial grant of GSP eligibility so a more deliberate path to GSP can be created for those sectors.

Urgent Clarity Needed as 4-Year Thailand Migrant NV Deadline Expires

There are an estimated 3 million foreign migrant workers in Thailand, over 80% originating from Myanmar. Since the late 1980s, these workers have irregularly crossed borders to work in mostly dirty, dangerous and demanding jobs in Thailand thereby significantly contributing to Thailand’s economy and providing billions of dollars in remittances to support relatives in origin countries. These workers continue to face significant exploitation and confusing piecemeal government migration policies.

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