In an open letter to European Commissioners Didier Reynders and Thierry Breton, Kalpona Akter, Head, Bangladesh Center for Workers’ Solidarity has called for strong rules against labor rights violations and access to justice for victims. The new rules should include mandatory value chain transparency so that everyone can easily trace a company’s production sites, or a T-shirt’s origin, Akter urges. Every year in April, when the survivors of the Rana Plaza collapse get together in memory of those who had died in the rubble, she is reminded what happens if workers’ rights are left to voluntary commitments, and what it takes for the victims to access remedy.
Akter says, the rules should ensure every company identifies, prevents and mitigates human right risks in its whole value chain, including the company’s own purchasing practices. She is a member of Clean Clothes Campaign’s global strategy board that has put forward concrete proposals for binding rules aimed at ensuring responsible business conduct in ‘Fashioning justice: a call for mandatory and comprehensive human rights due diligence in the garment industry’.