Australia’s largest textile workers’ union and activist groups are up in arms that the country’s leading retail chains, who source most of their fashion labels from Bangladesh, are refusing to sign a legally binding accord that will help to improve labour and safety standards in Bangladeshi garment factories.
Those responsible for the Bangladesh building collapse that killed more than 1,000 garment workers should be given life in prison, a government-appointed committee has said.
Fahima Begum rises each morning at dawn and walks two kilometres to a small pond, the nearest source of fresh water. On her way she passes the rusty old hand-pumped tube well that used to supply water to her village in Bangladesh’s arid Barind region until the water table here dropped out of reach.
“It was dark and hot with choking dust all around. The air was filled with the smell of decomposing corpses,” recalled Nasima, a 24-year-old factory worker who spent four days buried under the rubble of an eight-storey building that collapsed in a suburb of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka last month.
In December 2011, 159 governments and major international organisations recognised the central role of civil society in development and promised to create an “enabling” operating environment for the non-profit sector.
Last month, 18-year-old Shapla was just another one of thousands of garment workers employed in a factory in Savar, a suburb of Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka.
A Bangladesh war crimes tribunal has convicted and sentenced the assistant secretary-general of the Jamaat-e-Islami party to death for war crimes, raising fears of clashes between the police and supporters of the Islamist leader.
Adding to a long list of domestic woes, including a factory collapse that left hundreds dead last month, Bangladesh is now grappling with a wave of violence that threatens to deepen the gulf between secular sections of society and religious fundamentalists.
Worker advocacy groups here are calling on some of the most high-profile U.S.-based clothing companies to make drastic reforms to their international labour practices in the wake of the factory collapse that killed more than 420 workers in Dhaka last week.
“This is a revolution,” declares Mamtaj Jahan Halima, a young law student from Bangladesh’s southwestern Khulna district. “People of all ages, irrespective of religion, caste and culture have united – we have not witnessed such a peaceful uprising since before independence.”
When nine-month-old Borsha was admitted to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh last January, she was on the verge of death.
Is Bangladesh just trying to process its dark legacy, the trauma of the genocide that took place during the country´s liberation war in 1971? Or is something more afoot?
The sun is just beginning its descent as a knot of farmers gathers around a small, portable radio in the grounds of the Nachol Pilot High School in Bangladesh’s northwestern Chapainawabganj district, about 300 kilometres from the capital, Dhaka.
The Spanish public is well aware of the widespread exploitation of workers in the globalised garment industry. But low prices, shrinking buying power and the lure of brand names act as strong disincentives to responsible clothes shopping.
Monashatoli, a small coastal village of 5,000 residents in Bangladesh’s southwestern Barguna district, located about 470 kilometres south of the capital Dhaka, is a living model of the success of bottom-up community development.