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AAFA calls on Bangladesh to stop 'threats' to garment workers

By Susan Zijp


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For months, thousands of garment workers in Bangladesh have been protesting against low wages. Credits: Clean Clothes Campaign.

American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has called for an end to "the threats and crackdown on garment workers in Bangladesh" in an open letter addressed to the president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers & Exporters Association (BGMEA).

In recent months, the protesters have been protesting against one of the lowest wages in the world, leading to the dismissal of "3,000 to 4,000 workers", according to Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC). A spokesperson for the organisation added: "In addition, 131 workers are still in prison." Multiple news sources (de Volkskrant, NOS, Het Nieuwsblad) report that the police crackdown on protesters has resulted in deaths.

In an open letter to BGMEA chairman Faruque Hassan, Stephen Lamar, CEO and chairman of AAFA, demanded that Bangladesh release the protesters still detained. Lamar also requested an investigation into the violence that led to the deaths of workers during the protests.

"I urge the Bangladesh government to investigate those responsible for the violence that led to the deaths and injuries of workers during the protests and to hold them accountable," Lamar said in the open letter. He stressed that Bangladesh is an important country for the garment industry in America. To stay in business, Bangladesh must stop "detaining and threatening" garment workers, Lamar said in the open letter.

Garment workers in Bangladesh have been fighting for livable working conditions for years. In November last year, the minimum wage increased from 8,300 taka (76 dollars) per month to 12,500 taka (114 dollars) per month. A living wage is 23,000 taka (210 dollars) per month, according to the CCC. Bangladeshi garment workers demand a living wage.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.

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