Berlin, 24 October 2015
The Bangladesh Ambassador in Germany Mr Muhammad Ali Sorcar urged the owners, buyers and the officials related to garments sector to make the readymade garments (RMG) industry workers-friendly and at the same time environment-friendly one to make this sector sustainable in the competition of world apparel market.
The Ambassador Mr Sorcar urged this while addressing the day-long workshop on “Clean Clothes: Improve Occupational Safety and Health Compliances of Ready Made Garments (RMG) Workers in Bangladesh” held on 24 October 2015 in Berlin, Germany. He also said, ILO has estimated that on the daily basis about six thousand three hundred (6300) people die round the world. That is a staggering number, almost unbelievable, three times or four times of number of people that died in Rana Plaza incident, dies everyday in occupation related injuries around the world. But that is not a consolation or any degree of complacency regarding Rana Plaza, because it was entirely preventable. Almost all occupational hazards are preventable. Only observing some building code measures, some fire safety measures and many other measures which have been implemented now could have prevented the loss but probably many need a wake-up call. For us it has been especially severe. Still it is something that has propelled us to take action that will guide us to the right ways.
Mr Sorcar highlighted the initiatives of Bangladesh government along with the cooperation of German and other Western governments after the Rana Plaza collapse, as they took it as a challenge and at the same time as an opportunity of having lesson. Speakers urged people of all corners concerned to come ahead with their significant role and responsibilities to make the RMG sector of Bangladesh a safe, sustainable and workers’ welfare one.
The workshop was organized by Diaspora organization, BASUG-Diaspora and Development e.V. with the support of the German development organisations, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and Center for International Migration and Development (CIM).
Different stakeholders including development and civil society organisations, rights organisations, policy makers, garments buyers, consumers and Bangladeshi migrant community members attended the program, while Founder President of BASUG Mr Bikash Chowdhury Barua was in the chair. BASUG Secretary Mr Sudhier Nannan and Project Coordinator of BASUG Germany AHM Abdul Hai conducted the opening session and cultural session respectively.
President of BASUG Germany Dr Ahmed Ziauddin moderated the panel discussion, while Dr. Mazharul M. Islam, Senior Research Fellow, Bonn University and Secretary of BASUG e.V. Germany, presented paper on “The Readymade Garment Sector of Bangladesh: Prospects, Achievements and Challenges”, Prof Dr. W. P. Zingel of South Asia Institute, University of Heidelberg, on “Made in Bangladesh: Opportunities and Threats of a Brand Name”, Prof. Dr. Bibhuti Roy, University of Bremen and President of Bangladesh Developing Center in Germany (BEZ) on “Improvement of Occupational Safety & Health Compliances of Bangladeshi RMG-Workers: A continuous Challenge”, Dr. Syed Masum Ahmed Chowdhury, Economic Counselor, Bangladesh Embassy, Berlin, on “Ready Made Garments of Bangladesh: A Way Forward” and Dr. Satya Bhowmik, Vice President of Development Forum Bangladesh e.V. Hamburg, presented paper on “Clean clothes: Work Place Safety and Health Issues relating to EU context of BD RMG sector”. BASUG Member Marina Joarder presented vote of thanks. In the cultural session Ismat Ara Ahmed Jessy sang patriotic songs and Hossain Abdul Hai recited his own poem at the end of the workshop.
The workshop in Berlin is a part of the on-going 18 months Project on textile sector in Bangladesh. BASUG with support from GIZ and CIM, Germany has been working on ‘Safety and health compliances’ issues to create awareness and improve occupational safety and health compliances in the RMG sector and ensure social security of the RMG workers in Dhaka and Chittagong, capital and port city of Bangladesh.