Dr. Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (12 September):
On 11 September 2012, more than 250 people were killed in a fire at the Ali Enterprises textile factory in Karachi, Pakistan. All the items of clothing found in the remains of the factory bore KiK labels. KiK immediately paid 1 million US dollars into a fund for the survivors. The Pakistan Institute of Labour Education & Research (PILER) held negotiations on general compensation for everyone affected by the disaster (the families of those killed as well as the survivors).
In Geneva last Friday, 9 September, PILER and KiK agreed out of court in a deal brokered by the International Labour Organization that a further 5.15 million US dollars be paid. I myself have visited Karachi and spoken to PILER. The length of the negotiations and the uncertainties they entailed both for the victims of the fire and for the companies involved highlight the need to place compliance with human rights due diligence obligations on a sound footing. That is why I am calling for the German Government’s National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights to lead to binding regulations on human rights due diligence standards.