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Bangladesh to make inspection reports on RMG units, public

The Bangladesh government has decided to make the reports on assessment of garment factories public following pressure from both local and international sources. The National Tripartite Committee (NTC) at a meeting chaired by labour secretary Mikail Shipar held last week, decided to make the inspection reports, prepared by the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), public.

The factory inspection reports will soon be uploaded on the DIFE database after formulating the common template. A common format would be followed for the reports done by Accord, Alliance and BUET. Recently the Human Rights Watch (HRW) had demanded that the government should disclose the findings of ongoing apparel factory safety inspections carried out by the government and other groups both in Bengali and English to help the workers know actual conditions of their workplaces.

However, at the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) ministerial meeting in Paris held on June, 26, Karel De Gutch, EU Trade Commissioner asked the Bangladesh government to accelerate the recruitment of inspectors and publish the inspection results. While BUET has so far assessed 252 garment factories and submitted its first initial report in January. Later in April it handed over the final reports of 200 factories to the DIFE.  But till date no reports have been published. On the other hand, Accord and Alliance have already made some of their assessment reports including corrective action plan public on their respective websites. They are also on the process to upload the more reports in the coming days.

In July, 2013, Bangladesh, the EU and the ILO agreed to a compact on labour rights and factory safety which was later joined by the US government, to create a publicly accessible database listing all RMG and knitwear factories, as a platform for reporting labour, fire and building safety inspections.