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

Bangladesh: Rohingya refugee children suffer exploitation in camps; reports of poor working conditions and abuse continue

13 Nov 2017 — "Exclusive: $6 for 38 days work: Child exploitation rife in Rohingya camps", 13 November 2017 Rohingya refugee children from Myanmar are working punishing hours for paltry pay in Bangladesh, with some suffering beatings and sexual assault, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has found. The...probe...also documented accounts of Rohingya girls as young as 11 getting married, and parents saying the unions would provide protection and economic advancement. The IOM said children were targeted by labor agents and encouraged to work by their destitute parents amid widespread malnutrition and poverty... Boys work on farms, construction sites and fishing boats, as well as in tea shops and as rickshaw drivers... Girls typically work as maids and nannies... Reuters interviewed seven families who sent their children to work. All reported terrible working conditions, low wages or abuse. Muhammad Zubair...said he was offered 250 taka per day but ended up with only 500 taka ($6) for 38 days work building roads. His mother said he was 14 years old. Many parents also pressure their daughters to marry early, for protection and for financial stability... Some child brides are as young as 11... Kateryna Ardanyan, an IOM anti-trafficking specialist, said exploitation had become “normalized” in the camps. “Human traffickers usually adapt faster to the situation than any other response mechanism can. It’s very important we try to do prevention.” Ardanyan said.    

Bangladesh: Accord on Fire and Building Safety launches its fourth aggregate report

11 Nov 2017 — The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh publishes Quarterly Aggregate Reports as part of its commitment to transparency and accountability.This report provides an overview of implementation of the Accord program and remediation progress at the ReadyMade Garment (RMG) factories covered by the Accord. The overall remediation progress rate of safety issues identified in initial inspections reported or verified as fixed has reached 81 percent. Remediation is close to completion  at 603 Accord factories which have completed 90 percent or more of the remediation.  107 factories have completed all remediation from initial inspections, out of which 25 factories have remediated all the issues, including the new findings. While marking this significant progress, major life-threatening safety concerns remain outstanding in too many factories and need to be fixed urgently. These include: inadequately protected fire exits, inadequate fire alarm and fire protection systems, and outstanding structural retrofitting work. 

PCA allows complaints to proceed against 2 fashion brands for alleged violation of Bangladesh Accord

20 Oct 2017 — Claimants in the arbitration are IndustriALL Global Union and UNI Global Union. Names of the two brands accused of breaking the Accord to remain confidential, according to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). Complaints allege that the two brands failed to compel their suppliers to improve their facilities within the mandatory deadlines Cases will be the first test of the Accord's accountability mechanism.  

Bangladesh: Official data shows half of garment factories do not form safety committees as legally required

29 Sep 2017 — "Half of apparel units flout needs for safety committees", 23 Sep 2017 Nearly half of the country’s ready-made garment (RMG) factories are yet to set up their safety committees despite having legal compulsion... Recent findings of the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment (DIFE) under the ministry of labour and employment revealed that some 2,174 safety committees were formed...About 4,795 garment factories are operating across the country....Any factory that employs 50 or more workers must form a safety committee, which would function as per...the law amended in 2013...[T]he rules published in September 2015, the existing factories have to form such committees within six months from the date the rules come into effect, while the factories, set up after the formulation of the rules, have to do it within nine months after production starts....The regular inspection conducted by DIFE inspectors found that the rate of forming safety committee and other compliance issues in garment factories, affiliated with either the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BKMEA), is relatively poor...  

Bangladesh: Human Rights Watch urges govt. to publish reports on fire and building safety inspections of factories

29 Sep 2017 — "Govt should publish reports on factories it inspects: HRW", 22 Sep 2017 Following a fire in Munshiganj, Human Rights Watch has urged Bangladesh to publish its inspection reports on how factories terminated from the Accord and Alliance are faring...[O]ver the past few years, the accord brands cut ties with 76 garment factories that failed to make their buildings safer. Similarly, the alliance brands terminated business with 158 garment factories. These factories are now the responsibility of government inspectors...Earlier this year, the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, a legally binding agreement between clothing brands and unions, was renewed. The accord covers more than 1,600 garment factories. Under the revised agreement, the accord steering committee can opt in textile mills. This means the mills could also be subject to fire and building safety inspections, and management and workers could be trained on safety measures...  

New strategies & laws could make climate change lawsuits against oil companies succeed, say experts

4 Oct 2017 — "What Happens if Oil Companies Are Forced to Pay for Climate Damage", 2 Oct 2017 Successful lawsuits cost the tobacco industry hundreds of billions. We asked experts about the likelihood of energy giants meeting the same fate… No lawsuit of this type has yet succeeded. The legal requirements are too complex. The fossil fuel industry is too strong… Yet some observers think that could soon change. They believe there are new and powerful strategies for suing Big Oil that have just begun to be explored. US state courts could pass legislation making oil companies legally liable for the atmospheric chaos caused by their profit model. Or they could wait for an oil company to lose a legal battle in a foreign country and then enforce the ruling in the US… "If climate liability is difficult or impossible to litigate under the current legal system, then change the law," he and two co-authors wrote in their recent journal article. New legislation could remove many of the barriers delaying and obstructing lawsuits against oil companies… [Also refer to BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon, Shell]

Abuses in leather industry prompt investors’ call to add labour compliance to industry audits

4 Oct 2017 — In a letter to the Leather Working Group, 62 institutional investors cite pervasive labor violations in a call for broadening scope to include labor as well as environmental due diligence at tanneries... While the LWG currently tracks company performance on environmental risks such as water pollution that are endemic in leather production, there is currently no audit protocol for labor concerns...  The investors argue that the industry is exposed to serious and systemic social risks including labor rights violations such as forced and child labor, wage theft and worker exposure to hazardous chemicals in the tanning process that need to be managed by sector-specific protocols like the Leather Working Group. In their letter, the investors cite two reports, Transparentem’s in-depth investigation of conditions at tanneries in Hazaribagh, Bangladesh and KnowTheChain’s report, “How footwear companies and luxury brands tackle forced labor risks in their leather supply chains,” both of which highlight pervasive hazardous working conditions and child labor in leather processing in a number of countries including, Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan.

Bangladesh: Brands need to step up on compensation after new garment factory fire, says Clean Clothes Campaign

2 Oct 2017

Brands need to step up on compensation after new factory fire in Bangladesh

26 Sep 2017 — At least six people were killed in a textile mill fire in Bangladesh last Wednesday. Clean Clothes Campaign expresses its heart-felt condolences to the families of the deceased. In order not to leave them destitute without just compensation for employment injury, it is imperative that brands, employers and the Government of Bangladesh step up to improve access to and provision of remedy in the short-term and by moving forward towards a permanent solution with adopting the National Employment Injury Scheme...  

Clean Clothes Campaign urges brands and the Government of Bangladesh for a permanent solution

25 Sep 2017 — "Brands need to step up on compensation after new factory fire in Bangladesh", 24 Sep 2017 At least six people were killed in a textile mill fire in Bangladesh... In order not to leave them destitute without just compensation for employment injury, it is imperative that brands, employers and the Government of Bangladesh step up to improve access to and provision of remedy in the short-term and by moving forward towards a permanent solution with adopting the National Employment Injury Scheme... Despite the frequent occurrence of employment injury in Bangladesh, there is still no consistent approach or permanent solution to provide remedy for those unable to work after sustaining an injury or for the families left behind when workers are killed...Brands have an obligation to ensure access and provision of remedy as part of exercising due diligence within their supply chain...  Clean Clothes Campaign calls upon all brands producing in Bangladesh to sign the new Accord and to listing all their suppliers producing garment and textile  related products.  Full disclosure of their supply chains will help brands and retailers meet their due diligence requirements under international standards   and most importantly can save workers’ lives.