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  • #RanaPlazaNeverAgain protest in Brussels, Belgium, April 24, 2019

    #RanaPlazaNeverAgain protest in Brussels, Belgium, April 24, 2019 | Photo: Twitter @SolMond

Published 24 April 2019

Social movements and NGO ask for the end of the impunity of international companies six years after Bangladesh's Rana Plaza disaster. 

The Rana Plaza building collapsed April, 24 2013 in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, taking with it the lives of 1,127 workers and injuring more than 2,500. The building housed several garment workshops, working for international clothing brands. Employees were working in inhumane conditions and earning starvation wages.

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The international feminist movement World March for Women (WMW) declared April 24 as the International day of Feminist Solidarity to remember this tragedy and "to condemn the exploitation and expropriation of women’s work within the dynamics of the worldwide economy," says the Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt.

WMW dedicates this day to denounce the "violence carried out by exploiting women’s bodies and work to support a patriarchal, capitalist-imperialist, colonialist, lesbophobic and transphobic economic model," and a system "responsible (for) disasters."

WMW joined other social movements Wednesday to demand an end to the impunity of transnational corporations who take advantage of international austerity measures that allow for slave wages and poor working conditions in 'developing' countries such as Bangladesh. The groups want "working-class women, rural and peasant women, black women and women of color, women living on the periphery, Lesbian and Trans women" to have the right to fair and decent labor conditions and gender equality. 

To promote the International day of Feminist Solidarity at the local level, Belgian non-government organization, Solidarite Mondiale is pushing for a law that obliges companies to respect human rights across all production chains.

French NGO Catholic Committee Against Hunger and For Development (CCFD) have already collected 550,000 signators to petition the United Nations to ensure multinationals respect human and labor rights. 

#RanaPlazaNeverAgain - # Rules4Corporations ACTION - Place de la Monnaie Brussels "We want a BELGIAN LAW that obliges companies to respect human rights in production chains!" @La_CSC @achACT_asbl @Wereldsol

In addition, survivors of the Rana Plaza disaster formed a co-operative called Oporajeo — which means “invincible” in Bengali — and have teamed up with British anti-sweatshop campaign, No Sweat, to produce ethical T-shirts for the British market. 

“We are creating a radical circular economy based on workers’ rights and campaigning activism,” said Jay Kerr, an activist with No Sweat, a British-based grassroots campaign to end the use of sweatshop labor across the world.

Multinational corporations are often accused of violating international human rights laws and labor law workers. Their actions regularly cause harmful consequences to humans and the environment, most of the time in Southern countries. Brazil recently experienced a human and environmental tragedy when a dam operated by Vale, one of the world's largest mining companies, collapsed, flooding Amazon forests and displacing 24,000 residents in the rural area.  

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