By William Gomes
Workers, Civil society people and leftist political leaders Friday demanded immediate and unconditional release of labour rights activist Moshrefa Mishu and other leaders who were illegally arrested on false charges of their involvement in recent unrest in country’s apparel sector.
Moshrefa Mishu was illegally arrested on 14 December on false charges of instigating unrest and violence in three readymade garment factories of Kuril in the city following new pay structure of workers.
About 300 hundred people including Workers and Civil society peoples comes together demanding unconditional and immediate release of labor rights activists outside of national press club.
In Dhaka, workers and leftist political leaders pressed their demands at a demonstration outside of the National Press Club.
Speakers at the demonstration said serious unrest in Bangladesh’s garment industry has been commonplace over the last few years, in part due to the inability of workers to express their grievances through union representation.
Speakers at the demonstration said the appalling conditions in the Bangladesh industry are well documented and include poverty wages, dire heath and safety conditions and long hours. The repressive measures taken by the Bangladeshi government fail to address the legitimate concerns of workers and the underlying causes of the turmoil.
Speakers at the demonstration also said stop all repression of workers, trade unions, researchers, workers rights activists and policy advocates;drop the false charges levied at labour rights defenders for carrying out their legitimate duties;enter into genuine and constructive dialogue with union representatives and labour rights defenders to develop sound industrial relations.
The programme include sending urgent appeal to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Chief Justice, A. B. M. Khairul Haque, Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed, Home Minister Sahara Khatun , Attorney General of Bangladesh Mahbubey Alam , Chairman National Human Rights Commission Prof. Mizanur Rahman, Inspector General of Police Hassan Mahmud Khandker and Dhaka Metropolitan Police Commissioner Benzir Ahmed using the urgent appeal programme of Asian Human Rights commission through the Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-006-2011 for Moshrefa Mishu. The campaigners said that we are very thankful to Asian Human Rights Commission that they have developed the urgent appeal system and they also raised the issue of illegal arrest of Moshrefa Mishu to the government and also to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and Special Rapporteurs on Independent of Judges and Lawyers and Violence Against Women requesting their prompt interventions in this case.
The campaigners said that we hope that we will collect 10 lakh signs for Moshrefa Mishu from all over the country. Campaigners said we also hope that the people from all over the world will also keep sending mail to government.
Prominent economist Anu Muhammad, writer, columnist Rahnuma Ahmed, Development activist Khushi Kabir, Singer Kafil Ahamed, journalist Faruk Wasif and other notable leftist political leaders were present during the demonstration
Police and intelligence people were deployed out side of National press club where the demonstration was taking place.
Many of the country’s 4,500 garment factories produce clothes for big names such as Wal-Mart, Zara, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, Carrefour, Gap, Metro, JCPenney, Marks & Spencer, Kohl’s and Levi Strauss.