2. The State’s Duty to Protect Human Rights
The collapse of Rana Plaza, in 2013, a building housing a number of commercial ventures including several garment factories, shocked the world and the implications still continue to reverberate over two years later. Over 1,100 people were killed and many more were injured. For the victims and their families the events that unfolded on that day have irrevocably affected their lives. Following the collapse, the British High Commission in Dhaka alongside DFID Bangladesh, have done a number of things to support the victims and try and ensure a disaster like this never happens again.
DFID Bangladesh, in partnership with Canada and the Netherlands, will provide a total of £7.4m to improve building safety and working conditions, empower workers and urge buyers to take responsibility for their supply chains
To date over 1000 structural, fire and electrical safety inspections have been carried out, nearly 200 new inspectors recruited and 299 survivors trained to enable them to find alternative jobs or start small businesses.
144 senior masters have been trained in health and safety, who will in turn train 7,600 supervisors that will themselves train over 300,000 workers.
DFID Bangladesh funding has also worked to try and ensure justice for garment workers, supporting a number of NGOs to file public interest litigation to protect workers’ rights, and increase awareness of worker rights. To support this, in 2015 the British High Commission began work with Global Rights Compliance and Action Aid Bangladesh to increase state, corporate, trade associations and trade union understanding and uptake of the UN Guiding Principles, increase accountability and reduce human rights violations in the garment, leather and tannery sectors. – Page 12