SAI/SAAS Statement: Ali Enterprises Fire in Karachi, Pakistan

Released: September 16, 2012  
Updated: September 19, 2012

On September 11, 2012 a deadly fire broke out in the Ali Enterprises garment factory in Karachi, Pakistan, claiming the lives of an estimated 300 workers. Social Accountability International (SAI) and Social Accountability Accreditation Services (SAAS) were devastated to hear of this horrific fire, and saddened by the high number of victims who perished. Our deepest sympathies go out to the victims and their families during this difficult period.
The day after the fire, SAAS was informed by one of its accredited certification bodies, RINA (Registro Italiano Navale Group), that RINA had granted SA8000 certification to Ali Enterprises, in August, 2012. Information on the certification had not been posted on the SAAS website under SA8000 certification statistics, as it is updated quarterly. The certificate has been withdrawn and the information is posted on RINA's website, in their database.
RINA has voluntarily suspended all SA8000 auditing activity in Pakistan. It is undertaking its own internal investigation and also seeking from local authorities clearer information about the circumstances surrounding this tragedy. In the coming days, SAAS will be rigorously following its own strict rules, and will be examining very closely the validity and effectiveness of RINA's audit and certification process.
The enormity of this tragedy points to endemic issues in the apparel industry for decent working conditions. Conformance to fire safety standards continues to be a major issue throughout the South Asian apparel industry. SAAS supports efforts for stronger enforcement and legislation to strengthen safety at facilities in the apparel industry and in the region.