Subject: Demand to the Government of Bangladesh to Release the Garment Workers at Tube Garment Factories in Badda, Dhaka
To: Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Jakarta
Jl. Karang Asem Utara Blok C4 No.12, Kav.42
Jakarta Selatan 12950
Phone: +62 21 5262173
Fax: +62 21 5262174
Dear Honorable Ambassador of Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh in Jakarta – Mr. Md. Nazmul Quaunine,
The Commission for the Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS) – a human rights non-governmental organization based in Jakarta, Indonesia – strongly condemn the detention of garments workers by Police at Tube Garment Factories in Badda, Dhaka on 6 August 2014 including the physical assault of workers, female workers, trade union leaders, human rights activists and people who are at Tuba Garment Factory to express solidarity.
The attitudes performed by the Police have violated international obligations that Bangladesh has acceded such as International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). This case shows how the Bangladeshi Government treats the workers extremely inequitable and inhuman.
The story begins on August 6, 2014 Police have taken to brutally beating garments workers and Activists. At 2 pm, Police have detained the President of a Garment Workers Union, Shabnam Hafiz and Quamr Ul Hasan from Activist Anthropologists. Both were violently beaten along with Saydia Gulrukh, Garment Workers Activist from the Activist Anthropologists, Samina Lutfa a Professor of Sociology from Dhaka University and Salim Mahmud from Garment Sramik (Workers) Front.
On the ninth consecutive day of their hunger strike, Police have surrounded the factory preventing supporters and various human rights defenders and doctors from supplying saline. Workers have been weak and some are in a critical stage without saline.
1600 Garment Workers who have been employed by Tuba Group have not been paid for three months salary, overtime or their bonus for the Eid Festival last week. They have been on strike since 28 July 2014, they occupied two factories and at least 1200 workers have been on hunger strike.
They are demanding their full three month wages which are due. The workers, who produced garments for the International Football Federation (FIFA), Zara, H&M, and many other Western-popular products’ suppliers, announced that if outstanding payments are not made by 7 August, they would call on garment workers across the country to strike on 10 August.
In other hand, the managing director of the Tuba group, Delwar Hossain, had been in jail since February 2014 for his role in the Tazreen tragedy, a factory fire claiming 112 lives and injuring more than 200 people. However, in a move by the High Court he was released on bail on 5 August.
We believe that the actions carried out by the Police, Government, and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) have violated international obligations which Bangladesh has acceded and should ensure its implementation, which are:
- Article 7 of International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:
(a) Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with:
(i) Fair wages and equal remuneration for work of equal value without distinction of any kind, in particular women being guaranteed conditions of work not inferior to those enjoyed by men, with equal pay for equal work;
(ii) A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant;
(b) Safe and healthy working conditions;
(c) Equal opportunity for everyone to be promoted in his employment to an appropriate higher level, subject to no considerations other than those of seniority and competence;
(d) Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays
- Article 9 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law
Also bearing in mind that Bangladesh is a member of United Nations who is obliged under Article 23 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
Therefore, by sending this letter, we would like to urge Bangladeshi Government to immediately release the detained human rights activists and to ensure immediate legal actions against those police officers who attacked workers, trade union leaders, and human rights activists, as well as take suitable steps after assessing this problem/crisis and provide a remedy. We also demand the immediate and effective measures from Bangladeshi Government and Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) for the payment of arrears, festival allowance and overtime payment of workers of Tuba Garment Factories.
Jakarta, August 8, 2014
Executive Coordinator of KontraS
*For further information please contact Ms.Ninies (email@example.com) or through KontraS Secretariat (firstname.lastname@example.org)