Skip to main content

Robert Salka, President

Topson Downs

3840 Watseka Ave

Culver City, California 90232

United States

Via Fax: 310-558-9170


Dear Mr. Robert Salka,

Human Rights Watch is one of the leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights. For 30 years, we have worked in over 90 countries to bring greater justice and security to people around the world and are recognized as an independent and objective institution. We have worked on various issues linked to the protection of human rights in Bangladesh for over two decades.

We are currently doing research on the status of workers who were injured or the family members of workers who died due to the Nov 24, 2012 fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory in Bangladesh, which killed at least 112 people. It is our goal to undertake thorough and objective research. To that end, we are seeking the views of your company.

We understand that you were one of Tazreen's customers.

We are writing to request information about your business relationship with Tazreen Fashions of Bangladesh.

We understand that many of the factory's assembly lines were producing garments for Walmart, as they had done for much of the preceding 12 months. This was despite the fact that according to a Walmart spokesman, Tazreen was removed from the list of Walmart's authorized suppliers 'months' before the fire (Wall Street Journal, December 10, 2012). Inspection reports found in the factory after the fire appear to show that the factory was in violation of many provisions of Walmart's Code of Business Ethics and Code of Conduct.

It is our understanding that Topson Downs placed an order with Tazreen in December 2011 for 157,668 pairs of shorts. You placed this order via Bismillah Sourcing.  We would be grateful if you could answer the following questions:

  1. Can you confirm that this order was placed with Tazreen? If so, did you inform Walmart? And if not, why not?
  1. Your company is one of those which sourced garments from Tazreen, but to date we have not been able to confirm that your company has contributed to the compensation fund. Is this correct and what are the reasons?
  1. The International Labor Organization and the IndustriALL Global Union have expressed their willingness to facilitate a system for compensating the Tazreen victims. Have they contacted you and could you elaborate on any plans to engage with this initiative?

We would welcome your responses by November 26, 2013 so that we are able to include your comments in our findings.

Thanking you in advance.

Brad Adams

Asia director

Human Rights Watch

Your tax deductible gift can help stop human rights violations and save lives around the world.

Region / Country