Press Releases

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Migrant workers prosecuted for reporting exploitation in Thailand

Global coalition calls for end to prosecutorial persecution with criminal defamation law

(BANGKOK) – Prosecution of migrant workers and their advocates under criminal defamation laws for reporting violations of Thailand’s labor law violates Thailand’s international legal obligations and business’ obligations to respect human rights under the U.N.

Why is the Bangladesh Government Scapegoating the Victims of Deadly Boiler Explosion?

International Labor Rights Groups Criticize Criminal Complaint Against Deceased Workers at Multifabs Ltd and Call for Thorough Investigation and Full Compensation for Victims
According to media reports, police have filed a criminal complaint against ten people following the July 3rd explosion at the Multifabs Ltd. facility. The complaint accuses the individuals of negligence of duty, injury and murder. The only three individuals named in the complaint were killed in the explosion. An inquiry into the causes of the explosion has yet to be completed.

Bangladesh Factory Explosion Shows Need to Expand Accord Inspections to Boilers

Labor Rights Groups Reiterate Call for Swift Action
The following is the statement of the Witness Signatories of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh – Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Worker Rights Consortium and Maquila Solidarity Network – concerning the boiler explosion at Multifabs Ltd. 

As NAFTA Hearings Open, More Than 100,000 Petitions Delivered and 50,000 Public Comments Filed Demanding a New Deal to Benefit Working People, Not Just Corporations

Unprecedented Public Response to Administration Request for Comment Spotlights Political Stakes of NAFTA Renegotiation

The broad coalition that derailed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) delivered more than 100,000 petitions demanding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) be replaced with a deal that benefits working people. Activists with “Replace NAFTA” signs and T-shirts made the delivery today as witnesses arrived for hearings on NAFTA renegotiation at the U.S. International Trade Commission. This followed the unprecedented submission of more than 50,000 comments to the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) docket on NAFTA talks.

Thai ranking unchanged in anti-trafficking report, despite limited progress

Government response has not yet improved situation for migrant workers

The U.S. State Department has left Thailand on the Tier 2 Watchlist, just above the lowest ranking of Tier 3, in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, despite clear evidence that migrant workers remain highly vulnerable to human trafficking and that Thai legal institutions are failing to adequately protect victims or prosecute offenders.

NGOs Call For Systemic Reforms To RSPO Certification Scheme Beyond Standards Review


As stakeholders gather at the 5th annual Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) European Roundtable to begin discussing the review of the certification body’s standards, known as the Principles and Criteria (P&C), NGOs remain critical that improvements to its standard will not be enough to ensure responsible palm oil production without serious reforms to its auditing, enforcement and complaints systems.

Call for Continued Funding for Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ Grant Programs


ILRF, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable, Free the Slaves, and Verité submitted a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies calling for continued funding for the Bureau of International Labor Affairs’ grant programs.

EU should use review to push for workers’ rights and freedom of association in Bangladesh


Tomorrow, 18 May, the third annual review of the so-called “Sustainability Compact” between Bangladesh, the European Union and the International Labour Organization takes place in Dhaka. Despite optimism voiced by the EU, Bangladesh is still far from meeting its international labour rights’ commitments and taking concrete steps enshrined under the Compact. A striking example is the wave of repression which the the Bangladeshi labour movement has faced since December 2016.

Honduran Union Leader Attacked for Organizing on Fyffes’ Plantations


ILRF condemns the recent brutal attack against Moisés Sanchez, Secretary General of the Honduran agricultural union STAS, for organizing workers to seek better working conditions and basic labor rights on Fyffes’ melon plantations in Choluteca, Honduras.

On April 13, 2017, Moisés and his brother Misael were returning home from a union meeting when they were intercepted by four armed men. Misael was seriously wounded in the face with a machete after trying to free his brother from the assailants.

Four years after Rana Plaza: steps in the right direction but a lot remains to be done

On 24 April 2017 the Clean Clothes Campaign network will be remembering those killed and injured at Rana Plaza, the multi-story building which collapsed in Bangladesh four years ago. In a statement released today Clean Clothes Campaign sends its thoughts and sympathies to those still grieving for their loved ones, and those still suffering from the physical and psychological scars left by the disaster.

More Brands Should Reveal Where Their Clothes are Made

17 Align with Transparency Pledge; Others Should Catch Up

(London, April 20, 2017) – More apparel and footwear companies should join 17 leading apparel brands that have aligned with an important new transparency pledge, a coalition of unions and human rights and labor rights advocates said in a joint report issued today. The pledge commits companies to publish information that will enable advocates, workers, and consumers to find out where their products are made.

Three years imprisonment for documenting forced and child labor

Human rights groups condemn detention of Turkmen activist on false charges

(Washington, DC – March 23, 2017) Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) reporter Gaspar Matalaev remains imprisoned on false charges of fraud, despite his family’s hope that he would be released in December and again in February, when others charged with the same offense were given presidential pardons. Matalaev likely remains imprisoned due to his work monitoring state-sponsored forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton harvest.

Major Developments in Bangladesh Labor Crackdown; Important First Step Taken However Crisis Not Resolved

After months of intense efforts by labor unions, and labor and human rights organisations, all over the world, yesterday, Bangladeshi trade unionists, the government and the employers’ organisation announced the planned release of all remaining detained labor leaders. Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum and the Worker Rights Consortium welcome the announcement as an important first step, but warn that in its current form it still falls short of fully resolving the crisis in Bangladesh.

In Unprecedented Action, Leading Retailers Withdraw from Bangladesh Garment Industry’s Annual Showcase Event

Withdrawal from Factory Owners’ “Apparel Summit” is in Response to Two Month Campaign of Repression Against Bangladesh’s Garment Unions
Seven leading apparel companies -- H&M, Gap, Inditex (Zara), C&A, Next, VF Corporation, and Tchibo -- have pulled out as key speakers and participants from the Dhaka Apparel Summit, organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Their decision to withdraw is a response to the campaign of repression against the labor movement carried out by the Bangladesh government and factory owners over the last two months.

Uzbekistan: ILO Report Confirms Forced Labor

But Government Role Undermined Research

(Washington, DC - February 16, 2017) A recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) confirms the scope and systematic nature of forced labor of Uzbek citizens during Uzbekistan’s 2016 cotton harvest, the Cotton Campaign said today. But the Uzbek government’s involvement in the research appeared to undermine the results, and may also have led the ILO to not give sufficient weight to the evidence of abuses presented by independent Uzbek civil society monitors.

Demonstrations at Bangladesh’s Embassies Call on the Country to End Crackdown on Labor Activists

Protests in: Berlin, Washington DC, Paris, London, Rome and Nine other Major Cities
This week global union federations UNI and IndustriALL, which together represent over 70 million workers around the world, are leading demonstrations at Bangladesh Embassies in at least a dozen cities calling on the Government of Bangladesh to secure the dismissal of all unsubstantiated criminal cases against recently arrested trade unionists and garment workers, and to immediately release them from jail. A protest was held at the Bangladesh Embassy in Berlin on Tuesday.

ILRF statement on the ILO monitoring mission in Uzbekistan


On Wednesday, February 1, the International Labour Organization (ILO) released its monitoring report on forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, which confirms that for a second year in a row, government mobilization of workers for the annual cotton harvest poses a significant risk of forced labor. We agree with several findings of the ILO report. The ILO reaffirms that sustainable elimination of the risk of child and forced labor remains a prominent issue in Uzbekistan.