SAI Response: Rana Plaza Building Collapse in Bangladesh

This tragedy underscores broader infrastructure risks faced by workers everyday

April 24, 2013

On behalf of the entire SAI team, we express our deep sympathy and sadness about the horrific building collapse at the eight-story Rana Plaza building, on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh in Savar. There are reportedly over 600 dead and over a thousand injured, with the numbers expected to rise as the debris continues to be cleared. The timing was especially unfortunate, during the morning rush hour.

According to news reports, there were five garment factories located on the 2nd- 7th floors, along with a market and bank branch on the ground floor. SAI has contacted Corporate Program members that work in Bangladesh to ask if they were sourcing from any of these factories; so far none have indicated that they were customers. 

This tragedy presents unimaginable losses for workers and their families, who must depend on these jobs to support their livelihoods. Furthermore, it underscores the broader infrastructure risks that workers around the world face every day in potentially unsafe workplaces.

SAI remains committed to external collaboration and engagement with business, government agencies, trade unions and NGOs in the global struggle to ensure human rights and decent working conditions in every workplace. SAI supports the ILO's efforts in Bangladesh to coordinate work and engage with trade unions, civil society organizations, government and the garment industry. For SAI, Bangladesh is a key focus country in the Pillars in Practice Program, in partnership with the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DiHR) and the CSR Centre Bangladesh, to build the capacity of local civil society organizations to engage with and train on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights. 

We urge the authorities that are conducting these investigations to ensure that the victims and their families are respected, and that where there is culpability, responsibility is taken.