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Beyond Rana Plaza - Reflections Over the Last Five Years

24 April 2018.

Five years ago today, on April 24th, 2013, one of the worst workplace disasters in history occured. Over 1,100 garment workers in the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh were killed when the building collapsed, despite having walked out the day prior due to safety concerns.  

Over the ensuing five years, IHRB and guest contributors have reflected on the root causes, drivers, and responses to the tragedy, which are compiled below.


Sanchita Saxena on Worker Safety

10 December 2017

Initiatives targeting working conditions in Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka have sometimes been cited as the way forward to address issues of health and safety of workers. In this podcast, IHRB’s Salil Tripathi talks to Sanchita Banerjee Saxena, Executive Director of the Institute for South Asia Studies (ISAS) at the University of California at Berkeley, about the pervasive problem and the absence of an effective remedy. While noting the progress of initiatives like Accord and Alliance which were designed to help prevent the recurrence of tragedies like the collapse of Rana Plaza in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Saxena argues that such initiatives do not go far enough, and foreign brands and the home state have to play a more active role.


Beyond Rana Plaza: Next Steps for the Global Garment Industry and Bangladeshi Manufacturers

13 November 2015

IHRB's Motoko Aizawa and Salil Tripathi write in the Business & Human Rights Journal about the next steps for the global garment industry and Bangladeshi manufacturers. [paywall]


As Companies and Governments Dither over Compensating Rana Plaza Workers, Victims Suffer

9 April 2015 

IHRB's Salil Tripathi reflects on a major international campaign seeking to fill the significant remaining gap in compensation funds for the victims.


Social Impact Bonds For Factories In Bangladesh

24 March 2015

IHRB's Motoko Aizawa writes in Forbes about the critical question of who should pay for the work needed to ensure basic factory safety standards in Bangladesh?


Sadaf Siddiqi on Rana Plaza

2 February 2015

Sadaf Saaz Siddiqi is a director at Sidko Limited, a Bangladeshi garment exporter. She is also one of Bangladesh's leading poets in English. Sadaf spoke with IHRB's Salil Tripathi about the Rana Plaza tragedy and its aftermath. She pointed out how Bangladeshi garment sector is working hard to improve standards and emphasised the need for major brands to squeeze the suppliers less, if they wanted standards to improve. She also stressed how Bangladeshi workers were united with the industry to ensure that the industry thrives, and highlighted one of the main gains of Bangladesh's garment export boom - the empowerment of women.


Nazma Atker on Rana Plaza

30 December 2014

The Bangladeshi activist Nazma Akter started working at a garment factory in 1984 at the age of 11. Three years later, she protested against the conditions garment workers faced. In 1994, she decided to stop working in garment factories, and dedicated herself to improving working conditions for her co-workers. Atker spoke to IHRB's Salil Tripathi in Bangladesh, at her busy office, about the Rana Plaza and Tazreen tragedies, the international responses - Accord and Alliance - and reinforced the importance of consumer activism.


Sara Hossain on Rana Plaza

26 November 2014

Sara Hossain is a leading human rights lawyer in Bangladesh. In a conversation in Dhaka with IHRB's Senior Advisor on Global Issues, Salil Tripathi, Hossain talks about the lack of compensation for the victims of the Rana Plaza Tragedy, and the earlier Tazreen Factory fire; the inadequacy of remedy for victims; the difference between Bangladeshi and international standards; and the practical limitations of auditing as the way to improve human rights performance of businesses.


Rana Plaza – Rebuilding more than the Factory

9 June 2014

IHRB's Salil Tripathi reflects on the laudable moves to protect workers since the Rana Plaza disaster, but argues a more fundamental rethink of the market remains the only solution.


Statement from the B Team 12 Months on from Rana Plaza

28 April 2014

The B Team issues a statement on the one-year anniversary of the collapse.


The Rana Plaza Tragedy in Bangladesh - One Year On

24 April 2014

IHRB's Salil Tripathi reflects on the disaster one-year on, reviewing experiences from around the world, what the world has learned so far, and whether things are any better.


Bangladesh: Society of Fabric

3 June 2013

IHRB's Salil Tripathi writes in EthicalCorp about the initial responses to the tragedy and what more is needed.


Another Factory Tragedy - How Will the Bangladesh and the World React?

26 April 2013

IHRB's Salil Tripathi reflects on the immediate aftermath of the disaster, and tries to anticipate the reaction from the Bangladesh authorities.

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