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Pandemic Compounds People’s Struggle for Affordable Food

(New York) – Government inaction in response to the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically exacerbated Turkmenistan’s pre-existing food crisis, Human Rights Watch and the Turkmenistan Initiative for Human Rights (TIHR) said today.…
A woman sells herbs in Ashgabat.
News

Important Coastal Barrier at Risk from Increased Pollution

Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful to strike in the Bay of Bengal in 20 years, made landfall on the India-Bangladesh coast last month. Amphan ripped off roofs, washed away homes, and flooded farms. Crucially, Bangladesh was able to mitigate impact and…
Men working in a coal mine in Bangladesh
News
Amid protests against racism and police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington likened police investigations of arrested protesters and their associates to contact tracing for COVID-19. This reckless analogy…
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News

Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan Should Allow Free Flow of Information

(Geneva) – The World Health Organization (WHO) should press four governments that have shut down the internet to minority populations during the Covid-19 crisis to restore internet access, Human Rights Watch and 47 other organizations…
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News

Companies Canceling Orders, Adding to Job Loss, Unpaid Wages

  (London) – Apparel brands’ business practices in response to COVID-19 are exacerbating the economic plight of millions of garment workers in Asia, Human Rights Watch said today. Scores of clothing brands and retailers have canceled…
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News

Blocking Access Could Cost Lives

UPDATE: Ethiopia announced that it would restore phone and internet service to western Oromia after a three-month shutdown. (New York) – Intentionally shutting down or restricting access to the internet violates multiple rights and can be…
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News
  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
News

Time and Cost-Cutting Pressures Are Incentives for Labor Abuses

(London) – Clothing and footwear brands should end business practices that provide incentives for factory labor abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 66-page report, “‘Paying for a Bus Ticket and Expecting to…
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  Summary Soon after the Rana Plaza collapsed in 2013 in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing over a thousand workers, a top official from a global brand flew into Pakistan.[1] His sudden trip was sparked by the desperation to make up…
News
A crash in slow motion—it’s the only way one can describe the looming economic fallout should Bangladesh refuse to extend the Accord on Fire and Building Safety. In just one week’s time the Bangladesh government may force this landmark agreement to stop…
Bangladesh police stand guard in front of garment factories in Ashulia on December 26, 2016, when factories re-opened after a five-day shut down in response to garment workers’ wage strikes.
News
This spring marks a solemn milestone. More than five years have passed since a series of deadly fire and building accidents in Pakistan and Bangladesh together killed more than 1,500 workers and injured thousands more. In the aftermath of these…
Women work in the sewing division of a factory in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital.
News

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.
News
Every year on April 24, I browse through a poignant online memorial for garment workers who died in 2013 in the Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh. The website is a collection of national IDs, passport-size and other photos—a man posing…
News

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.
Report
Summary My brother asked, “Can I have your identity? What is your force? Are you RAB, CID, DB?” They did not identify themselves. He asked several times. They did not wear any uniform and they had no legal arrest warrant. Nothing. They just said, “…
News

What Shareholders Should Ask about Company’s Track Record on Human Rights

To British American Tobacco Shareholders: We write on behalf of the nongovernmental organizations Human Rights Watch and Swedwatch to draw your attention to serious human rights abuses we have documented in British American Tobacco’s (BAT)…
News

British American Tobacco Shareholders Can Push for Supply Chain Improvements

(London) – British American Tobacco (BAT) should strengthen its processes for identifying and addressing human rights risks in its global supply chain, Human Rights Watch and Swedwatch said today in an open letter to shareholders. At…
An 8-year-old girl sorts and bundles tobacco leaves by hand near Sampang, East Java.
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…
News

International Brands Reject ‘Climate of Repression’ For Garment Workers

It’s been a torrid few years for Bangladesh’s lucrative garment-making industry. There was the Rana Plaza disaster in 2013, when more than 1,100 workers died when an eight-story factory collapsed on top of them. In the years since the disaster, global…
An employee works in a factory of Babylon Garments in Dhaka January 3, 2014.