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Forum on Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh Highlights Outstanding Needs August 19th, 2014

kapaeeng_dhaka-300x200On August 11, 2014, Kapaeeng Foundation of Bangladesh held a forum on the “Second International Decade and Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Bangladesh” at the National Museum auditorium in Dhaka. The meeting was organized to celebrate International Indigenous Peoples Day 2014.

The Honorable Chairman of Chittagong Hill Tracts Regional Council and President of Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum, Mr. Jyotirindra Bodhipriya Larmawas presented as the guest of honor, while Mr. Rabindranath Soren, Chaiperson of Kapaeeng Foundation presided over the program.

Speakers and special guests included Mr. R A M Obaidul Muktadir Chowdhury MP, Honorable Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Chittagong Hill Tracts Affairs; Mr. Fazle Hossain Badsha, MP; Pir Fazlur Rahman Misbah, MP; Professor Dr. Sadeka Halim, Former Information Commissioner; Mr. Snehal V Soneji, Country Director, Oxfam; Mr. Gonzalo Serano De La Rosa, representative of the European Union; Mr. Mika Kanervavuori, representative of UN; Mr. Sanjeeb Drong, General Secretary, Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples Forum. Sanjeeb Drong is a close collaborator of the Oblates in Bangladesh.

Sanjeeb Drong said, the rights of indigenous people are human rights. If government does not fulfill the rights of indigenous peoples, we cannot say the human rights situation is developed in Bangladesh. So the government has to protect and promote the rights of IPs. He also said, “Land is the life of indigenous peoples. But day-by-day, indigenous peoples are losing their land. To protect the land of IPs, I demand to setup separate land commission for IPs.”

He also mentioned that, “We all are humans, and despite this we face discriminations and injustice.”

Read a full account of the forum here (Download PDF) or visit the website of the Kapaeeng Foundation.

Investors Call for Stronger Financial Commitments from Brands and Retailers to Aid Victims of Rana Plaza April 24th, 2014

On the one-year anniversary of the tragic garment factory building collapse in Bangladesh, a global investor initiative reminds companies of their corporate responsibility to protect, respect and remediate human rights violations throughout their supply chains.

A global coalition of 134 institutional investors representing over $4.1 trillion in managed assets and led by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) today released a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the collapse of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. The Missionary Oblates are closely involved in the investor initiative urging companies to use their influence to improve work and safety conditions in Bangladesh.

Rana Plaza was one of the worst workplace disasters in history, resulting in the deaths of over 1,100 garment factory workers who were forced to work in the building even though they had left the building the day before because of major cracks in a wall. The tragedy underscored the need for heightened vigilance on the part of apparel companies for potential human rights risks in their global supply chains, particularly when they source from low-cost producing nations such as Bangladesh.

The investor initiative comprises responsible institutional investors from a dozen countries who actively engage the companies in their portfolios to promote corporate responsibility on critical environmental and social issues, including the human rights risks of trafficking and slavery. The coalition was convened by ICCR after the Rana Plaza disaster to urge apparel brands and retailers sourcing from Bangladesh to use their collective influence to help institute system-wide changes that will ensure the future safety of apparel workers.

Investors point to several key achievements over the last 12 months, many of which emerged through the formation of the multi-stakeholder initiative the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, which includes trade unions and apparel brands and retailers, with an independent chair from the International Labor Organization.

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JPIC Report Fall/Winter 2013 Issue Available October 24th, 2013

JPIC-Report-Fall-2010The Fall/Winter 2013 issue of JPIC Report is now available on line as a PDF. It is also available in print form. Please contact Mary O’Herron in the JPIC Office if you want to be added to the mailing list.

You can find all issues of JPIC Report on this website in the Resources section. (Download a PDF of the latest issue)

Water Pollution in Bangladesh Threatens Human Health and Agriculture July 16th, 2013

Rivers and canals in Bangladesh are becoming increasingly polluted from industrial wastewater dumped by factories, many of them in the textile industry, The New York Times has reported. Leather tanneries are also a significant source of toxic pollutants to the air and water. The water pollution threatens food production and is raising both environmental and human health concerns.

Human Rights Watch issued a report late last year on the human health effects of unchecked pollution from the leather industry. The report, Toxic Tanneries, documents an occupational health and safety crisis among tannery workers, both men and women, including skin diseases and respiratory illnesses caused by exposure to tanning chemicals, and limb amputations caused by accidents in dangerous tannery machinery. Residents of the area where the tanneries are located are also seriously affected. The government has consistently failed to enforce labor and environmental laws in Hazaribagh, a suburb of Dhaka, and has ignored High Court orders to clean up or move the tanneries.

Read the NY Times article…

Read the HR Watch report…

Bangladesh Collapse: The Workers who Survived July 10th, 2013

Used under Creative Commons license; photo courtesy of rijans on flickr

Used under Creative Commons license; photo courtesy of rijans on flickr

Listen to this compelling NPR audio broadcast on the reality facing survivors of the Bangladesh factory collapse in April at Rana Plaza. Over one thousand people were killed and many more maimed for life, with little compensation.






Investors Unhappy with North American Plan by Walmart, GAP and others on Bangladesh July 10th, 2013

Photo credit: Emma L. Herman

Photo credit: Emma L. Herman

North American Bangladesh Worker Safety Initiative Insufficient in Curbing Supply Chain Risk, Say Investors. 

Legal accountability and full multi-stakeholder participation, including trade union role in governance structure, cited as critical elements lacking in plan versus Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Upon initial review, members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) based in New York, and long-term shareholders in apparel brands and retailers found the new initiative put forward this morning by the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety lacking in sufficient worker protections and accountability mechanisms. ICCR members, including Boston Common Asset Management, Calvert Investments, Domini Social Investments LLC, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Trillium Asset Management, LLC, who have been engaging major apparel brands and retailers on worker rights and supply chain risk for over 15 years, view the new plan as a weaker alternative to the pre-existing Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety (the Accord).

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