Statement by the Clean Clothes Campaign on the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster:

published 24-04-2015 12:12, last modified 24-04-2015 12:12
Today marks the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza building collapse, the most deadly disaster ever in the global garment industry. At least 1,134 people were killed and over 2500 injured as the 8-storey building housing 5 garment factories collapsed.
Statement by the Clean Clothes Campaign on the second anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster:

Activists protesting in high street stores in London

The fund to collect compensation, established by ILO in January 2014, is in a funding crisis as the majority of brands continue to refuse to donate sufficient and meaningful amounts. Due to the voluntary nature of donating, despite the fact this came at the brands insistence, many brands still have made disappointing contributions.

As a result, the Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund continues to have a $6 million funding gap. The fund needs $30 million in total to ensure survivors and victims’ families receive the full and fair compensation they are entitled to.

There are reports of a last minute initiative, which has brought together brands in an effort to collectively seek a solution to the current funding crisis.  The details of this initiative have yet to be disclosed. However, rumours suggest that some brands have stepped forward and offered pledges towards filling the funding gap.

The Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) welcomes the news of this last minute initiative among brands. It offers the perfect opportunity to collectively solve this crisis. Only $6 million more is needed to full compensate the victims’ families and survivors so there is no reason that these brands shouldn’t be able to imminently find a solution.  

Many survivors have had to use their entirety of their compensation payments to date on medical fees and are living in abject poverty, awaiting the final installments. To date, claimants have only received 70% of what they are owed. For families and individuals the wait for compensation has had devastating effects, many have faced destitution and are unable to pay ongoing medical costs.

Asha Khat, who survived the disaster, was the main earner for her mother, father, and younger sister, and now the family is desperately struggling to get by. Asha has received compensation for her injuries, but says it’s only been enough to cover her medical costs. Two years after the collapse, Asha says she still can’t eat properly, and she feels pain in her head and chest. She is too weak to stand for long periods, so she no longer leaves the house. The two year wait for compensation has fueled Asha with despair. “I feel like I’m living like a dead person. It would’ve been better if I died, because now I’m a burden to my family,” said Asha Khat.  

The CCC reiterates its call to all brands sourcing from Bangladesh to pay into the compensation fund. All brands should contribute to the fund based upon their profits, their relationship with Bangladesh and the extent of their relationship with Rana Plaza. The urgency and need have never been so great – clearly illustrated through Asha’s experience and continued suffering.  

To mark the anniversary a global day of action is taking place today as the CCC, together with partner organisations and trade unions worldwide, call for all brands sourcing from Bangladesh to fill the current funding gap in compensation immediately, and to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.  Campaigners also hope that the Global Day of Action can continue to help drive forward the need for wider systemic changes in the industry.  

For more information about the Global Day of Action, see:
https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/global-day-of-action-remembering-rana-plaza