Press Releases

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EU should use review to push for workers’ rights and freedom of association in Bangladesh


Tomorrow, 18 May, the third annual review of the so-called “Sustainability Compact” between Bangladesh, the European Union and the International Labour Organization takes place in Dhaka. Despite optimism voiced by the EU, Bangladesh is still far from meeting its international labour rights’ commitments and taking concrete steps enshrined under the Compact. A striking example is the wave of repression which the the Bangladeshi labour movement has faced since December 2016.

Honduran Union Leader Attacked for Organizing on Fyffes’ Plantations


ILRF condemns the recent brutal attack against Moisés Sanchez, Secretary General of the Honduran agricultural union STAS, for organizing workers to seek better working conditions and basic labor rights on Fyffes’ melon plantations in Choluteca, Honduras.

On April 13, 2017, Moisés and his brother Misael were returning home from a union meeting when they were intercepted by four armed men. Misael was seriously wounded in the face with a machete after trying to free his brother from the assailants.

Four years after Rana Plaza: steps in the right direction but a lot remains to be done

On 24 April 2017 the Clean Clothes Campaign network will be remembering those killed and injured at Rana Plaza, the multi-story building which collapsed in Bangladesh four years ago. In a statement released today Clean Clothes Campaign sends its thoughts and sympathies to those still grieving for their loved ones, and those still suffering from the physical and psychological scars left by the disaster.

More Brands Should Reveal Where Their Clothes are Made

17 Align with Transparency Pledge; Others Should Catch Up

(London, April 20, 2017) – More apparel and footwear companies should join 17 leading apparel brands that have aligned with an important new transparency pledge, a coalition of unions and human rights and labor rights advocates said in a joint report issued today. The pledge commits companies to publish information that will enable advocates, workers, and consumers to find out where their products are made.

Three years imprisonment for documenting forced and child labor

Human rights groups condemn detention of Turkmen activist on false charges

(Washington, DC – March 23, 2017) Alternative Turkmenistan News (ATN) reporter Gaspar Matalaev remains imprisoned on false charges of fraud, despite his family’s hope that he would be released in December and again in February, when others charged with the same offense were given presidential pardons. Matalaev likely remains imprisoned due to his work monitoring state-sponsored forced labor in Turkmenistan’s cotton harvest.

Major Developments in Bangladesh Labor Crackdown; Important First Step Taken However Crisis Not Resolved

After months of intense efforts by labor unions, and labor and human rights organisations, all over the world, yesterday, Bangladeshi trade unionists, the government and the employers’ organisation announced the planned release of all remaining detained labor leaders. Clean Clothes Campaign, International Labor Rights Forum and the Worker Rights Consortium welcome the announcement as an important first step, but warn that in its current form it still falls short of fully resolving the crisis in Bangladesh.

In Unprecedented Action, Leading Retailers Withdraw from Bangladesh Garment Industry’s Annual Showcase Event

Withdrawal from Factory Owners’ “Apparel Summit” is in Response to Two Month Campaign of Repression Against Bangladesh’s Garment Unions
Seven leading apparel companies -- H&M, Gap, Inditex (Zara), C&A, Next, VF Corporation, and Tchibo -- have pulled out as key speakers and participants from the Dhaka Apparel Summit, organized by the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA). Their decision to withdraw is a response to the campaign of repression against the labor movement carried out by the Bangladesh government and factory owners over the last two months.

Demonstrations at Bangladesh’s Embassies Call on the Country to End Crackdown on Labor Activists

Protests in: Berlin, Washington DC, Paris, London, Rome and Nine other Major Cities
This week global union federations UNI and IndustriALL, which together represent over 70 million workers around the world, are leading demonstrations at Bangladesh Embassies in at least a dozen cities calling on the Government of Bangladesh to secure the dismissal of all unsubstantiated criminal cases against recently arrested trade unionists and garment workers, and to immediately release them from jail. A protest was held at the Bangladesh Embassy in Berlin on Tuesday.

Uzbekistan: ILO Report Confirms Forced Labor

But Government Role Undermined Research

(Washington, DC - February 16, 2017) A recent report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) confirms the scope and systematic nature of forced labor of Uzbek citizens during Uzbekistan’s 2016 cotton harvest, the Cotton Campaign said today. But the Uzbek government’s involvement in the research appeared to undermine the results, and may also have led the ILO to not give sufficient weight to the evidence of abuses presented by independent Uzbek civil society monitors.

ILRF statement on the ILO monitoring mission in Uzbekistan


On Wednesday, February 1, the International Labour Organization (ILO) released its monitoring report on forced and child labor in Uzbekistan, which confirms that for a second year in a row, government mobilization of workers for the annual cotton harvest poses a significant risk of forced labor. We agree with several findings of the ILO report. The ILO reaffirms that sustainable elimination of the risk of child and forced labor remains a prominent issue in Uzbekistan.

Jailing of Trade Unionists is Embarrassing Brands and Jeopardizing Future of Garment Industry

Groups Cite Major Articles in World’s Leading Newspaper as Evidence of the Growing Risk to the Industry’s International Image

Four leading international labor rights organizations, the Worker Rights Consortium, the International Labor Rights Forum, the Clean Clothes Campaign, and the Maquila Solidarity Network, issued the following statement on the current labor rights crisis in Bangladesh:

International Delegation to Fyffes Melon Plantations in Honduras


From January 23rd to January 25th an international delegation made up of representatives from Banana Link, GMB, the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), 3F (General Union of Danish Workers) and the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Tobacco and Allied Workers (IUF) arrived in Honduras to follow up on the serious situation facing hundreds of workers in the melon plantations owned by the Irish fruit company Fyffes, located in the south of the country.

Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety overstates progress

Walmart, Gap, VF, Target & Hudson’s Bay Have Failed to Address Deadly Hazards in Many Factories, But Bangladesh Alliance Downplays the Problem with Rosy Status Reports

Three and a half years after the catastrophic Rana Plaza building collapse, major apparel brands and retailers that are part of the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety are failing to fulfill their commitments to make their supplier factories safe, leaving hundreds of thousands workers at risk, according to a new report by labor rights groups. The report, “Dangerous Delays on Worker Safety,” is the first independent study on progress at factories producing for Alliance members.

ILRF opposes lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order


One of President Obama’s key initiatives to improve wages and working conditions in federal government supply chains, the executive order on Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, is under attack by a coalition of federal contractors who have filed a lawsuit seeking to delay or prevent its implementation. 

Stop Trafficking by Sea


“Modern slavery doesn’t happen only in warzones. It exists in areas of both darkness and plain sight of people all over the world – even at sea … there are many, many stories … where unscrupulous fishermen use the isolation of the sea to hide their crimes … And the reasons aren’t hard to figure out. When criminals are able to turn a profit in an illegal fishing market, they’ll go after as many fish as possible. …the more labor they have on board, the larger their catches will be.

World Bank Potentially Liable for Supporting Forced Labor in Uzbekistan

ILRF report finds World Bank in violation of international law on responsibility of international organizations for financial complicity in international crimes

A report by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) finds that the World Bank is committing a serious violation of international law by knowingly providing agricultural loans to the government of Uzbekistan that are used to sustain its state-orchestrated system of forced labor in the cotton sector.

After Karimov, What's Next?

Cotton Campaign urges successors to end state-sponsored forced labor & cotton crimes in Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan’s President for the past 27 years, Islam Karimov, passed away earlier this month, potentially opening the door to a new era for Central Asia’s most populous country.  Emerging leaders in Uzbekistan have an opportunity to now engage constructively with the international community and build on recent developments initiated under Karimov by ending the use of forced labor in the country’s cotton sector. 

Labor Rights Groups Respond to Tampaco Foils Factory Fire


The boiler explosion and resulting fire and structural collapse at the Tampaco Foils Ltd factory in Bangladesh demonstrates the ongoing dangers to industrial workers in that country and the failure of global corporations to take meaningful steps to protect the safety of workers in their supply chains. According to its corporate website, Tampaco Foils’ customers include two of the world’s largest consumer products brands: Nestle and British American Tobacco.

Global Food Giants PepsiCo, Indofood Linked to Poverty Wages, Worker Exploitation and Discrimination

The second field investigation in a year documents systemic labor violations on Indofood-owned palm oil plantations in Indonesia

An independent report released earlier this week has again found that labor violations are rife in the palm oil plantations owned and operated by global food giant PepsiCo’s joint venture partner Indofood. Indofood is the sole producer of PepsiCo-branded snack food in Indonesia and one of the largest palm oil growers in the world.