It has been one year since the Tazreen Factory fire, in which 110 workers lost their lives, and six months since the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building, which resulted in more than 1100 deaths. These disasters in Bangladesh stirred outrage and brought worldwide attention to the unrealized rights of low-wage garment workers.
On Wednesday, November 20, the fourth annual event in the Business and Human Rights Resource Center’s Mary Robinson Speakers Series will be an opportunity to reflect on the causes and implications of these tragedies and others like them, and to ask what must change to prevent similar accidents in the future. Kalpona Akter, a former child garment worker and executive director of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity, will give a keynote speech.
Akter’s remarks will be followed by a discussion moderated by New York Times labor and workplace reporter Steven Greenhouse, with the participation of Lauren Compere, managing director of Boston Common Asset Management; Judy Gearhart, executive director of the International Labor Rights Forum; Harpreet Kaur, South Asia researcher with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre; Sarah Labowitz, co-director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights; and Chloë Poynton of Business for Social Responsibility.
A grantee of our Strengthening Human Rights Worldwide initiative, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre has become the main global source of information on business and human rights, enabling it to help shape and move forward this important new field of human rights work. The Resource Centre draws attention to the human rights impact of more than 5,000 companies worldwide, with a focus on transparency and accountability. And it supports local NGOs and community groups by giving prominence to their concerns and seeking responses from companies, playing an important bridge-builder role and often fostering real improvements on the ground.