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Recommendations to improve Human Rights practices in the Bangladeshi Ready-Made garments sector

Posted: Wednesday 30 April 14, 6.52am GMT

On 5 March 2014, more than 40 participants from Bangladeshi businesses, government agencies, trade unions and civil society organisations came together to identify concrete actions to improve human rights conditions in the ready-made garment sector.

The recommendations can be downloaded here.

The multi-stakeholder forum was organised as part of the Pillars in Practice programme, a joint initiative of the CSR Centre (Bangladesh), Social Accountability International (USA) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (Denmark). The objective of the project is to help companies, government agencies and civil society organisations implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Pillars in Practice project has been ongoing since October 2012, and has conducted wide consultation toward identifying human rights challenges in the RMG sector and devising actions to address them.

Aroma Dutta, Honorary Member of National Human Rights Commission attended the forum as special guest and appreciated the initiative that CSR Centre has taken, in partnership with SAI and DIHR, in order to improve the working condition in Bangladesh Readymade Garment industry by implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Participants in the multi-stakeholder forum recommended actions for companies, civil society organisations and government agencies to improve sustainability in the RMG sector under five major themes: environmental sustainability, discrimination, working conditions, occupational health and safety and trade unions. These priorities were identified through earlier multi-stakeholder engagements.

Recommendations for government stakeholders included updating trade union regulations and passing all environmental legislation currently in draft form. The Ready-Made Garments (RMG) companies were encouraged to establish platforms for information sharing and capacity building, and to raise awareness among their suppliers and employees of the human rights impacts of their sector. Civil society organisation recommendations included monitoring that company and government commitments to preventing human rights abuses in the RMG sector are enacted.

Stakeholders also suggested concrete actions to improve their own performance and that of other sectors.

About Pillars in Practice

Pillars in Practice is an international initiative to build the capacity of civil society organisations in Bangladesh, Nicaragua and Zimbabwe to advance the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The programme targets three industrial sectors over 18 month period: agriculture in Nicaragua, garment manufacturing in Bangladesh, and mining in Zimbabwe.

To find more information about Pillars in Practice click here.

About the CSR Centre

The CSR Centre is a unique organisation in Bangladesh, initiated and established by the private sector; it aims to contribute to the achievement of the human development targets set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) through private sector development. As a joint focal point of the United Nations Global Compact and the lead promoter of the Global Compact Network Bangladesh, the Centre has worked in the Ready-Made Garments (RMG) sector to promote the UN Global Compact (UNGC) principles including labor standards, health & safety, women empowerment, social compliance, and sustainable business practices. The Centre fosters a network and cooperation between existing CSOs and state actors and bringing in new players to create sustainable development models for the RMG industry.

For more information on CSR Centre Bangladesh contact Shahamin Zaman.

About Social Accountability International (SAI)

SAI is a 15-year-old multi-stakeholder NGO whose mission is to advance the human rights of workers around the world. It partners to advance its mission by promoting ethical working conditions, labor rights, corporate social responsibility and social dialogue. Its advisory board includes trade unions, companies and NGOs from 10 countries and five industries.

To find more information about Social Accountability International click here or contact Alex Katz.

About the Danish Institute for Human Rights

The Danish Institute for Human Rights is a National Human Rights Institution accredited under the UN Paris Principles, and carries out research, education and rule of law programme in Denmark and around the world. Since 1999, the Danish Institute has worked closely with the business and human rights communities to develop tools and standards for better business practice.

For more information about the Danish Institute for Human Rights click here and here or contact Mike Baab.

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Usha Manojkanth

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