Updates

The #SeThemFree campaign demands freedom for political prisoners in Nicaragua

On May 22, following the release of 100 Nicaraguan political prisoners, and reports that those in prison were subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, the #SetThemFree Campaign put out a statement calling for the release of all remaining political prisoners.

The statement makes several demands including calling for an end to tortuous acts against those who remain in prison, and for a guarantee of the physical and psychological integrity of those released.

Companies and Brands: Leverage points with international apparel companies

MSN has launched a new research tool entitled Companies and Brands: Leverage points with international apparel companies. This comprehensive tool is designed to assist worker rights advocates in accessing detailed information about a company whose products are sourced from factories where labour rights violations have occurred. The research tool includes a seven-page chart that outlines six key leverage points about global garment companies and the brands that they own:

Questions raised about agreement on Bangladesh Accord

Photo: Kristof Vadino

On May 19, 2019, the Appellate Court of the Bangladesh High Court accepted a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reached earlier this month between the Bangladesh Accord Steering Committee and the Bangladesh employers’ association in the ready-made garment sector, BGMEA. The MoU stipulates that the Accord will continue to operate in Bangladesh for a transition period of 281 working days, during which time brands, unions and the BGMEA will establish a new institution called the RMG Sustainability Council (RSC), which will take over the Accord’s tasks in 2020.

Will the Accord be allowed to continue its life-saving work in Bangladesh?

Clean Clothes Campaign

Today marks the 6th anniversary of the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,100 garment workers and injured over 2,000 others. One positive outcome of this preventable tragedy was the creation of the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, which provides for independent factory safety inspections, transparent remediation of factory safety hazards, an anonymous complaints process, and health and safety training for workers.

IACHR expresses concern for ongoing repression in Nicaragua

On April 5, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) released a statement on the continuing crisis in Nicaragua, condemning the persistence of arbitrary arrests, aggression toward people deprived of their liberty, the refusal to reestablish several organizations’ legal status, and the prevention of social protest – all of which are taking place alongside the negotiations between the government and the Civil Alliance for Justice and Democracy.

Legal analysis of 2018 Salvadoran workplace childcare law (April 2019)

On May 31, 2018, the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly ratified the Special Law for the Regulation and Installation of Nurseries for Workers’ Children. During an August 2018 roundtable, management representatives from Salvadoran maquila factories requested more detailed analysis on the implications of the new law for employers. In response, the Coalition for Decent Work for Women (CEDM) and the Americas Group (AG) contracted Ena Nuñez, an independent legal consultant and expert on labour issues, to prepare this document.

Canada fails to create an independent ombudsperson with effective investigatory powers

Photo: CNCA

On April 8, the Canadian government announced the appointment of the long-awaited Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise (CORE), but failed to live up to its commitment to grant the position the necessary independence and power to investigate abuses and redress harm caused by Canadian mining, oil and gas, and garment companies operating abroad. Several human rights, union, labour, international development and faith organizations have voiced their dismay over the announcement.

Does Morena labour reform bill meet terms of USMCA Labour Chapter?

The renegotiated NAFTA (known as USMCA or TMEC) includes a labour chapter and annex requiring specific changes in Mexico’s labour laws. Meanwhile, proposals for implementing legislation for Mexico’s 2017 Constitutional Reform to the labour justice system are being debated in the Mexican Congress.

This chart, produced by MSN, compares Mexico’s obligations under the labour chapter and annex of the free trade agreement and provisions of a bill submitted to Congress by the new Morena government.

Bangladesh government not ready to take over role of Accord

Kristof Vadino

A just-released report co-authored by the Witness Signatories to the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh reveals that the Bangladesh government is “shockingly unready” to take over the role of the Accord. The Witness Signatories include: Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum, Maquila Solidarity Network and Worker Rights Consortium.

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