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Statement by the Federal Foreign Office on the implementation of the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights and on the situation in Bangladesh

08.02.2017

A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement in Berlin today (8 February):

A unit has been set up in the Federal Foreign Office to implement the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights. Foreign Minister Gabriel welcomes this implementation of a point in the coalition agreement that is also important to him personally. The Federal Foreign Office is highly committed to the mandate to put the National Action Plan into practice now and to enhance human rights standards.

The textile sector in Bangladesh, where striking workers and trade unionists still remain in prison following strikes in December, shows the need to improve standards. We are increasingly concerned about whether these people will be granted a fair trial in line with the rule of law.

In recent years, Bangladesh has established an internationally competitive textile sector, thus achieving considerable economic success. However, this success must not be achieved at the expense of the people who make it possible, namely the workers in the textile factories. Progress has been made since the terrible disaster in the Rana Plaza factory in 2013, but further improvements are needed as regards occupational health and safety and conditions in factories. There is still no legal basis for founding effective trade unions.

We call on the responsibility of German companies to uphold human rights along the entire production and supply chain. We also call on the responsibility of the state and the business sector in Bangladesh to agree further steps on improving workers’ situation. We thus support the dialogue between workers, employers and the government on improving social and environmental standards.

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