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Limited Community Outreach Blunts Impact of Accountability Efforts

A German court in the town of Koblenz this week will render its first verdict in a historic trial of two former Syrian officials for atrocities during Syria’s decade-long brutal armed conflict. The two accused in the case are an alleged former…
Photos of Syrians who have been detained or disappeared set up by Families for Freedom, as part of a protest in front of the court in Koblenz, July 2, 2020. 
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Companies’ Respect for Rights at Particular Risk During Covid-19

This would have been the week: The German government had put the planned Supply Chain Act on its cabinet meeting agenda. If passed, the law would require companies to ensure that the rights of workers and communities in their supply chains are…
Workers sew clothes in a garments factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 25, 2020.
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Covid-19 Galvanizes Momentum for Regulating Companies

The European Union is a step closer to developing regulations for holding companies accountable for their actions. On April 28, European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, pledged support for binding rules requiring companies to conduct…
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Workers Fear Increase in Union Busting at Factories During Covid-19 Lockdown

In previous years on May 1, workers across Myanmar would rally and march in solidarity for workers’ rights and justice. But this May Day the streets will be quiet, as no marches are allowed with Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews in place…
Workers shout slogans during a May Day march in Yangon, Myanmar, May 1, 2019.
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Emergency Relief Urgent as Millions Face Losing Their Livelihoods

“When will those of us who were fired get paid?” “Should I go to the factory?” “When will I get my wages?” Concerned workers have been swamping Kalpona Akter’s grassroots organization, the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity, for…
Garment factory workers wear face masks as they walk out at the end of their work shift March 20, 2020, near Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
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River Island Signs Pledge to Disclose Supply Chain

Last week, River Island, a United Kingdom fashion brand, signed onto a global effort to be more transparent about the factories that produce its products. In December 2019, Human Rights Watch, together with the Clean Clothes…
A branch of River Island seen on Oxford Street in London, United Kingdom
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43 Workers Dead in Delhi After Factory Fire

On Sunday morning in Delhi, a fire broke out in a factory that produced school bags. Many factory workers, migrants from other parts of India, were sleeping inside. More than 40 people, reportedly including several children, died in the blaze that…
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Governments Should Address Gaps in Prevention at Upcoming ILO Conference

Is workplace violence and harassment a human rights violation? The answer is a resounding yes. Human Rights Watch has documented sexual violence and harassment against women workers in garment factories, agriculture, meat…
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Companies Should Support New ILO Convention on Violence and Harassment at Work

Will the fashion industry throw its weight behind the global #MeToo movement? The next few months will tell us how committed apparel companies are to fighting harassment and discrimination in their supply chains.  Starting…
Garment workers take part in a May Day demonstration in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 1, 2017.
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Hundreds of Cases of ‘Disappearances’ and Torture Reported Under al-Sisi’s Government

Instead of protecting its citizens from torture and forced disappearances, the Egyptian government prefers to criticize and attack groups calling for investigations. Human Rights Watch published evidence several weeks ago…
Khaled Hassan
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How Unions Help Workers Worldwide

How can a mango craving spiral into a labor dispute? I was talking with garment workers in Cambodia when I heard the mango story. A pregnant garment worker had been caught sneaking mangoes into the factory despite a rule forbidding food…
Garment workers take part in a May Day demonstration in Phnom Penh, Cambodia May 1, 2017.
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Bangladesh’s Garment Workers Still Need Better Protection

Five years ago, the world watched in horror when an eight-story building collapsed in Bangladesh, trapping and killing over 1,100 people employed by garment factories. Rescue workers struggled valiantly for days to save lives, but for most, it was…
Relatives of victims killed in Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013, mourn at the site during the fourth anniversary of the collapse in Savar, on the outskirt of Dhaka, Bangladesh, April 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
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Government Should Publish Reports on Factories it Inspects

A fire in Ideal Textile Mills in Bangladesh killed at least six workers this week, reportedly after sparks from welding set ablaze inflammable chemicals stored close by. Soon, the blame game will begin. Perhaps there’ll be a…
In September 2016, another factory burned in the same district. Here, firefighters stand at the site of a fire at a packaging factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 10, 2016.
News

Maladministration in Nigerian’s July 2016 Execution

The official Ombudsman of Indonesia has accused both the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) and the Supreme Court of “maladministration” in denying a Nigerian citizen, executed for drug trafficking in July 2016, his legal rights. …
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“Europeans should not wear clothes made by exploiting garment workers,” Lola Sanchez Caldentey, a member of the European Parliament, boldly declared yesterday. She was speaking at an event commemorating the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster, when…
An employee works in a factory of Babylon Garments in Dhaka January 3, 2014.
News

Companies Pressed to Provide More Information About Suppliers

“Sometimes I just can’t sleep without pills. I keep remembering how many people died that day.” Shabana, her name changed to protect her privacy, survived three days buried in the rubble of Rana Plaza, an eight-story building with…
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Tampaco Disaster Should Fuel Concerns Over Poor Inspections

The horror of worker deaths is overshadowing Eid celebrations in Bangladesh. Last weekend, a fierce fire ripped through a three-storey packaging factory and eventually caused the building to collapse. The death toll so far at Tampaco Foils Ltd is 33…
People look at a fire at a food and cigarette packaging factory outside Dhaka, Bangladesh, September 10, 2016.
News

Ad Campaign Peddles Gender Stereotypes

Gap’s latest ad campaign is being raked over the coals for reinforcing gender stereotypes. The ads feature “The Little Scholar,” an aspiring scientist boy and “The Social Butterfly,” a girl. Many are outraged that a company like Gap, which prides itself…
The sign for a Gap store is seen on 5th avenue in midtown Manhattan in New York June 16, 2015.
News
The British government’s concern for the safety and well-being of the Yemeni people – already extremely feeble – reached a new low this week. In Geneva, Britain failed to actively promote a Dutch resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council that…
Damaged buildings in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, May 8, 2015.