September 14, 2010
We're pleased to announce that Kalpona Akter, Babul Akhter, and Aminul Islam of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) have all been released on bail following over a month in prison. Upon their release, the BCWS leaders expressed a "heartfelt thanks" to all who have supported them. MSN would especially like to thank all the members of our network who have taken action to condemn the attacks against this highly-respected Bangladeshi worker rights organization.
Unfortunately, the struggle is not over yet. Although bail has been granted, Kalpona, Babul, and Aminul still face prosecution on all of the charges filed against them. Furthermore, BCWS' NGO registration has still not been restored following its cancellation in early June, and the organization is not permitted to function legally in Bangladesh. Several other prominent Bangladeshi labour leaders continue to face criminal charges.
International labour and human rights groups are continuing to urge companies sourcing from Bangladesh to use their influence to press the government and local manufacturers to drop the charges that have been filed against the BCWS leaders, restore BCWS's NGO registration, and cease all repression of legitimate labour organizing and advocacy.
In Canada, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Retail Council of Canada, the Maquila Solidarity Network, and a number of major retailers have asked the Government of Canada to intervene in Bangladesh to ensure that the Government of Bangladesh refrains from any intimidation, repression and harassment of peaceful labour and human rights advocates. National trade unions continue to write to the Government of Bangladesh directly. A selection of those letters is included below.
A draft letter which your organization can use to urge the Canadian government to protest the attacks on the BCWS is available in Microsoft Word format here.
We will continue to work to ensure that BCWS and others are able to organize for workers' rights in Bangladesh without threat of imprisonment, torture or repression.