In Bangladesh, corruption kills hundreds

Posted on April 29, 2013

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Transparency international

Around the world, corruption hurts people. In many countries – like Bangladesh – it can even kill.

More than 200 people died and more than 1,000 were injured following the collapse of a building that housed several garment factories in Savar, near the capital city of Dhaka. While families mourn loved ones lost, the nation is asking how yet another preventable catastrophe in the workplace took such an enormous toll.

Savar’s tragedy is not the first; violations of building codes and faulty inspections have caused fatal accidents before. In November of last year, a fire swept through a textile factory outside of Dhaka and claimed the lives of more than 100 people. In 2005, 73 people were also killed in a different garment factory in Savar.

CPI2012_clothingexporters_620NO SAFETY FOR WORKERS

In the recent Savar tragedy, it is reported that cracks were found in the building only one day before the collapse. Industrial police officers and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association even asked the building owners to close the facility and to suspend factory operations prior to the collapse. While some businesses in the building evacuated their employees, garment factories – that produced products for brands including Mango, Primark and Wal-Mart – chose to ignore the warnings. Reports even surfaced alleging that workers were forced to report to work under threat of salary deduction.

It was also found that four of the upper floors of the eight-storey building were illegally constructed.

Iftekhar Zaman, Executive Director of Transparency International Bangladesh, explains:

The bottom line is that worker safety laws are hardly enforced. The key lesson from the tragedy is about the importance of the rule of law, and controlling collusive corruption in a manner that a strong message is out that corruption is indeed a punishable offence as provided by the law.” [Please click here to read the whole article}

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