Bangladesh Country Guide

The Country Guide provides a comprehensive overview business-related human rights impacts in Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh Country Guide was produced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights and CSR Centre Bangladesh. The Guide is a compilation of publicly available information from international institutions, local NGOs, governmental agencies, businesses, media and universities. International and domestic sources are identified on the basis of their expertise and relevance to the Bangladesh context, as well as their timeliness and impartiality.

The initial survey of publicly available, international sources was carried out by DIHR in 2013. The draft was then updated and localized by the CSR Centre through multi-stakeholder consultation in early 2014.

The Guide has been systematically updated for 2016. Read the updated Guide here

Read the full Country Guide here

News Feed

H&M takes steps to improve working conditions in supply chain by encouraging trade unions within factories

25 May 2017 — "H&M initiates steps to improve working conditions", 24 May 2017 H&M group has initiated several steps to improve working conditions of workers making H&M products at its suppliers. One of its major goals has been to ensure that factory employees are represented by trade unions to negotiate collectively...This is fundamental to be able to improve working conditions, including wages, it said and added 290 factories are enrolled in the workplace dialogue and industrial relations programmes while more than 370,000 factory workers are directly covered by democratically elected worker representation through its programmes run in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Ethiopia and India. ...The group is also trying to make sure that wage issues are negotiated and that workers have knowledge about their wage, benefits and rights...In a bid to herald change in the entire fashion industry, the group is focusing on close collaborations...."We have collaboration projects together with partners such as Sida, the ILO and IF Metall to train management and workers"...The group is also engaging national governments, which set minimum wages and decide on labour laws and when wage revisions take place, on creating change within the textile industry...

Bangladesh: Rana Plaza owner, 9 others indicted for violating building code

23 May 2017 — A Dhaka court has framed charges against 10 accused including Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana in a case filed over violation of Bangladesh National Building Code in the construction of Rana Plaza, which collapsed in 2013 and killed more than 1,100 people...The accused were present at the court when the judge read out the charges against them. They pleaded not guilty and demanded justice...The court fixed July 5 for recording testimonies of prosecution witnesses.

Bangladesh: Improve labour rights, EU reiterates

17 May 2017 — The European Union once again urged the government to improve labour rights if Bangladesh is to enjoy trade privileges past its graduation in to a middle-income country in 2021. Bangladesh needs to ratify and sign 27 UN core conventions including those on human rights, labour rights, good governance and environment, said Pierre Mayaudon, EU ambassador in Bangladesh

Bangladesh: Phulbari protesters give ultimatum to meet 6-point demands

10 May 2017 — Leaders of the National Committee to Protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports have demanded immediate implementation of their six-point demands regarding the clash between police and people who protested the proposed Phulbari open pit coal mine in Dinajpur in 2006. They also asked the government to withdraw false cases filed against the protesters following the 2006 incident... The committee threatened to take to the streets and stage demonstrations if their demands were not met by August 26...Phulbari locals staged a protest on August 26, 2006 against coal extraction from an open pit in the area proposed by Asia Energy Corporation (Bangladesh) Pvt Ltd. The protest turned violent when law enforcement agencies intervened, resulting in the death of three protesters and injuries to dozens more....The six-point demands are: cancellation of the agreement between the government and Asia Energy and a government declaration that no coal mining projects will be undertaken in the area, compensation for those injured and killed on August 26, 2006, the bringing of law enforcement members responsible for the deaths and injuries under investigation, return of the bodies of the protesters that could not be found, construction of a monument by the Phulbari bridge in memory of those killed in the protest, and compensation for the shopkeepers and rickshaw pullers who suffered damages by the law enforcement members during the clash.

Bangladesh: Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh releases its aggregated quarterly report on remediation progress at apparel factories covered

10 May 2017 — Four years on, the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh takes stock of significant improvements and unresolved safety hazards at garment factories in Bangladesh. Entering the final year of the current agreement, a direct financial support program is launched to help factories complete remediation...looking beyond 2018, apparel brands and retailers and unions are in discussions on how to best ensure that safety regulations and safety rights in the RMG industry in Bangladesh are adequately upheld and further developed...key milestones...[include]...Remediation is close to completion at more than 400 Accord factories which have completed more than 90% of the remediation., 65 Factories have completed all remediation from initial inspections, Over 300 joint labour-management Safety Committees are being trained and equipped to monitor factory safety on a day-to-day basis., The independent and credible Accord safety complaints mechanism has resolved more than 90 safety complaints from workers and their representatives.

Bangladesh Rejects Greenpeace Study on Power-Plant Project

10 May 2017 — Bangladesh will go ahead with building a massive coal-fired power plant despite a new report by environmental watchdog Greenpeace warning that some 6,000 people will die prematurely over a 40-year period from health problems caused by project-related pollution. The 1,320-megawatt plant that will be constructed on the edge of the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest, threatens to harm public health and could damage the environmentally sensitive region in southwestern Bangladesh, Greenpeace said in the report...The Greenpeace report, prepared by coal and air pollution specialist Lauri Myllyvirta, said emissions from the plant in Rampal would increase the risk of stroke, lung cancer, heart and breathing problems in adults, as well as respiratory symptoms in children...The plant is projected to discharge about 125,000 cubic meters of chemically tainted water every day into nearby water catchments, Greenpeace said.

Le fonds souverain norvégien se désengage de Bharat Heavy Electricals suite à la construction d’une centrale à charbon au Bangladesh

8 May 2017 — « Le fonds souverain norvégien sévit contre des groupes pour des raisons éthiques », 5 mai 2017 Sensible à la protection de l’environnement, le fond norvégien a décidé de se désengager du groupe énergétique indien Bharat Heavy Electricals, car ce dernier est en train de construire au Bangladesh une centrale électrique à charbon dans les Sundarbans… Ce fonds souverain n’investit pas par exemple dans des sociétés coupables de violation des droits de l'homme, chez les producteurs de tabac ou encore dans les groupes énergétiques dont le charbon représente plus de 30% du chiffre d’affaires. Plus d'une centaine de groupes, dont Airbus [filiale d'EADS], Boeing ou British American Tobacco sont ainsi privés de ses investissements. [Fait aussi référence à Leonardo, PetroChina (filiale de China National Petroleum Corporation)]

Gastkommentar: Handel und Investitionen müssen einen Beitrag zur Umsetzung der Menschenrechte leisten

8 May 2017 — "Menschenrechte in der Handel- und Investitionspolitik: Potentiale eines UN-Menschenrechtsabkomments zu transnationalen Konzernen und anderen Unternehmen", 20 Apr 2017 Die steigende Zahl bilateraler Investitions-und Freihandelsabkommen ist leider nicht durch eine entsprechende Berücksichtigung der menschenrechtlichen Konsequenzen begleitet worden... Die Sicherstellung eines umfassenden Menschenrechtsschutzes auch bei unternehmerischen Aktivitäten ist nur mit einer grundlegenden Reform der Handels- und Investitionspolitik zu bewirken... Der [zu verhandelnde] UN-Vertrag [über Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte] sollte [1] das Verhältnis von Handels- und Investmentabkommen und Menschenrechten durch eine spezielle Vorrangklausel regulieren. Zusätzliche Bestimmungen könnten die Staaten verpflichten, Menschenrechte in Allgemeine Ausnahmeklauseln in künftigen Handels- und Investmentabkommen aufzunehmen... [2] Staaten dazu verpflichten, menschenrechtliche Folgenabschätzungen durchzuführen und zwar vor, während und am Ende der Verhandlung [sowie der Umsetzung] von neuen Handels- und Investitionsschutzabkommen... [3] Verpflichtungen im Rahmen von Exportkredit- und Investitionskreditgarantien festschreiben...

Análisis de ONG del Tratado de la ONU sobre empresas y derechos humanos ve su potencial para resolver conflictos entre políticas de comercio e inversión y responsabilidad estatal

3 May 2017 — “Los Derechos Humanos en las políticas de comercio e inversión: el potencial de un tratado de la ONU sobre las empresas transnacionales y otras empresa. Recomendaciones de CIDSE – abril 2017 …El régimen internacional en materia de comercio e inversiones está en el foco de atención. Las repercusiones de varios acuerdos de alto nivel han sido ampliamente debatidas en la esfera pública hasta llegar incluso a cuestionar algunos de estos acuerdos. No obstante, si bien el interés suscitado por estos tratados de inversión bilaterales y acuerdos de libre comercio ha crecido exponencialmente en las últimas décadas, su impacto sobre los derechos humanos no ha recibido la misma atención…Muchos pequeños productores han quedado sumidos en la pobreza, o incluso expulsados de los mercados, siendo las mujeres las principales afectadas. Tales exportaciones han llevado a violaciones del derecho humano a la alimentación y de otros derechos sociales, y han socavado los esfuerzos por mejorar la sostenibilidad y reducir los impactos climáticos de la producción y el consumo…Con el objetivo de profundizar este análisis y contribuir al debate, CIDSE encargó un estudio al Profesor Markus Krajewski de la Universidad de Erlangen-Nürnberg en Alemania…”Garantizando la Primacía de los Derechos Humanos en el marco de las Políticas de Comercio y de Inversión: cláusulas modelo para un Tratado de la ONU sobre corporaciones transnacionales y otras empresas, y derechos humanos”... [que] examina…las posibles áreas de conflicto entre, por un lado, las obligaciones de los Estados en virtud de los actuales acuerdos de comercio e inversión y, por otro, sus obligaciones derivadas del derecho internacional de los derechos humanos…[y] explora el potencial de un futuro Tratado sobre empresas y derechos humanos…

Global: A 4 años de la tragedia de Rana Plaza, ONG evalúan avance de empresas textiles y del comercio justo como alternativa

27 Apr 2017 —  “Ropa transparente y justa: deseos a los cuatro años del derrumbe de los talleres del Rana Plaza” …El 24 de abril de 2013 se desplomó el edificio Rana Plaza de Dacca, la capital de Bangladés. Esta rotura de cimientos se saldó con 1.134 muertes, unos 2.000 heridos y la certeza de que la ropa que viste a Occidente esconde explotación e inseguridad laboral. En el aniversario de la tragedia, organismos como Human Rights Watch (HRW) o Oxfam Intermón exigen transparencia a las marcas y estrechar los márgenes salariales que conducen a la desigualdad…La deslocalización y la subcontratación de servicios añaden peldaños a la línea de control empresarial. Y si se endurece la inspección en uno, se traslada a otro…¿Ha cambiado esto en el último lustro? Según el documento de HRW Siguiendo el hilo: la necesidad de transparencia en la cadena de suministro de la industria de la indumentaria y el calzado, que insta a las empresas del sector a entregar información sobre las actividades corporativas, a finales de 2016 al menos 29 empresas habían facilitado datos sobre la elaboración de sus productos…HRW se puso en contacto con 72 empresas (13 de ellas, líderes) y afirma que 17 estarán cumpliendo con los estándares mínimos para finales de 2017…Entre las que se han responsabilizado a publicar información…están, por niveles, Adidas, C&A, Nike o Levis (las que lo cumplen totalmente), Columbia o Benetton (en “la dirección correcta”); Mizumo y Abercrombie&Fitch (“pasos modestos”) y Primark, Carrefour, Desigual o Hugo Boss (ningún compromiso)…A esta campaña se le ha sumado otra. Oxfam Intermón ha redactado un informe sobre la situación alcanzada en este tiempo y sobre la necesidad de un comercio justo…Creative Handicrafts y otras asociaciones de fabricación textil en el país asiático han empezado a emplear prácticas laborales justas y equitativas…