Statement on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse

Remember the victims of Rana Plaza. April 24th 2014 will mark the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse. Our hearts go out to all the people in Bangladesh for the loss, suffering, and grief this tragedy has brought to the families of the victims, the injured, and the nation as a whole. We remember the 1.134 people who have lost their lives, the more than 2.000 people injured, and the family members that have to cope with reminders of their loss and feel the impact of this terrible tragedy every day.

Since the launch of the Bangladesh Accord on the 15th of May 2013, international brands, trade unions and labour organisations, in close cooperation with the local constituents, have embarked on a journey towards a safe Bangladeshi Garment industry. Our common purpose is to enable a working environment in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. Together with all relevant stakeholders, we know we can – and must – change the system forever.

The Accord is moving ahead energetically, with a program of unprecedented scale, independence, rigor and transparency. More than 250 factories have been inspected for fire, electrical and structural safety, and remediation measures are being taken.  In eight factories, Accord inspections led the authorities to temporarily evacuate buildings until adequate structural safety could be assured and the lives of workers are no longer endangered.

There is tremendous public interest in the progress and development of the Accord. A growing number of brands are showing their commitment for improvement. IndustriAll unions in Bangladesh are demonstrating their commitment to help make the Accord successful as well. Currently, 166 international brands, two global and eight Bangladeshi trade unions, and four NGO witnesses have signed the legally binding agreement. They have all committed to make sure that independent safety inspections at factories and public reporting of the results of these inspections are being carried out and factories are made safe.

For the next five years, our goal is to inspect and ensure the safety of around 1,600 garment factories in Bangladesh with which signatory brands have commercial relations.

On May 15th – atthe anniversary of the Accord – present-day facts and figures on the current status of the progress of the Accords’ activities will be presented.