Bangladesh workers - Photo by jankie, via Flickr-cc licenseDozens of international companies have made a legal commitment to improve safety in Bangladesh’s garment factories, in the wake of last month’s building collapse that killed more than 1,100 people.

The decision by major retailers in Europe such as Inditex, Carrefour and H&M, to sign the fire-and-safety agreement ten days ago was in many ways unprecedented, said the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville.

The signatories to the Accord on Building and Fire Safety commit ‘to the goal of a safe and sustainable Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment (RMG) industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures’ according to the ILO website.

The companies that sign on have 45 days from the signing to develop and agree on an implementation plan to monitor their textile production in Bangladesh.

 Some major retailers, including Walmart and other companies in the United States, have chosen to abstain from the agreement and inspect the factories that supply its stores themselves.

‘The spotlight will be on them to ensure they fulfil their pledges,’ said Mr. Colville.

Speaking on behalf of the Office of the High Commissioners for Human Rights (OHCHR), Mr. Colville said measures taken so far may mark ‘a turning point’ in the history of Bangladesh’s clothing industry.

“The best way to honour the victims is to ensure such a tragedy never happens again—in any industry anywhere,” said Colville.

(Source: UN News Center)

Photo by jankie, via Flickr-cc license

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