Starting in mid-December, the Solidarity Center, which works closely with workers and unions, documented instances in which 14 national union federations were either forced by police to shut their offices in Ashulia, Gazipur, and Chittagong, or closed them because of police harassment.
“You don’t leave your human rights in one country when you cross into another. You don’t check your human rights at a border; you keep them with you”—Solidarity Center Executive Director Shawna Bader-Blau in interview with International Catalan Institute for Peace.
The Conditions at Bangladeshi Apparel Factories Are Still Horrible. What Happens to Workers Who Speak Up Might Be Worse
The factories reopened in late December, but a “really intense” security presence is everywhere, Jennifer Kuhlman from the Dhaka office of the Solidarity Center, an AFL-CIO allied organization, told me: not just in Ashulia, but also in other industrial areas across the country. She said the arrests, the mass firings and the continuing heavy surveillance… [READ MORE]
Arrests of trade union organizers and workers, along with the suspension by garment manufacturers of as many as 1,500 workers from their jobs, has been a great success for the employers.
A new briefing from the Solidarity Center detailed the intimidation, arrests and firing that followed the garment worker walk-out in December. The Solidarity Center warned that the “broad crackdown on garment workers, union leaders and worker rights activists in Bangladesh marks a troubling escalation of workers to silence garment workers.”
Writes Solidarity Center’s Tim Ryan: “Over the past 20 years, awareness and activism around the issues of child labor, slavery and human trafficking have grown significantly, mirrored by both growing economic inequality and broad concerns about that inequity. [There] is a clear recognition that decent work for adults can create a more secure environment for… [READ MORE]
“I am grateful for organizations like the Solidarity Center, who teach us about our rights. I am learning to speak up more. I want my story and my colleagues’ stories to spread to people throughout the world.”
Solidarity Center’s director of Bangladesh programs, Alonzo Suson, comments on union organizing efforts following the Rana Plaza collapse.
In a joint statement to mark Human Rights Day, several human rights organizations, including the Solidarity Center, said Zimbabwe should respect and protect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, participation in political and governmental affairs, and personal integrity.
AWID’s 5th online tribute to Women Human Rights Defenders who have died in recent years commemorates 60 feminists and activists. A 2016 report by AWID and the Solidarity Center shows that the rising power of corporate interests is an urgent challenge to defenders of human rights and justice.