Human Rights chief calls for overhaul of garment industry after deadly Bangladesh building collapse

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A female employee at a garment factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh. UN Photo/Kibae Park

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay is calling for swift action to empower trade unions and overhaul the garment industry.

This follows the deaths of more than 1,000 people in Bangladesh last month in the collapse of a building which housed several clothing factories.

Human Rights spokesperson Rupert Colville says the High Commissioner is urging greater emphasis on oversight and inspections.

"This issue does not of course just concern Bangladesh. Two years ago,  the UN agreed a series of guiding principles on what needs to be done by businesses and governments everywhere. Governments must have effective policies to prevent, punish and redress abuse of workers' rights; businesses must act to prevent and address rights abuses, and victims must have access to effective remedy.  In other words, while the spotlight has been on the international brands sourcing from Bangladesh, this should not detract from the duties and responsibilities of governments and factories to prevent this kind of disaster happening and to ensure redress and accountability when they do."

The UN Human Rights chief has also welcomed the decision by nearly 40 companies worldwide to sign a workplace safety agreement for Bangladesh.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’15″

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