Sunday, April 22, 2012

Labor Organizer Murdered Despite Repeated Appeals to Walmart for Intervention

April 11, 2012 Making Change at Walmart

The body of a prominent labor organizer in Bangladesh’s garment industry
was found last week after he was tortured and killed. Aminul Islam worked
for improved standards and fair wages for his country’s garment workers in
his leadership role in the Bangladesh Centre for Worker Solidarity (BCWS).

After arrest and repeated harassment, BCWS leader Kalpona Akter presented
Walmart CEO Mike Duke with a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of
supporters last year at Walmart’s annual shareholders’ meeting. The
petition explicitly asked Walmart to protect Aminul Islam, urging Walmart
to “tell [their] suppliers that have instigated false charges against
Kalpona Akter, Babul Akhter, Aminul Islam, and other labor leaders that
those charges must be dropped; that the officers responsible for torturing
these individuals must be held accountable; and that labor rights
defenders like the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity must be allowed
to operate freely.” As one of the largest single purchasers of
Bangladesh-made garments ($1 billion annually), BCWS leaders insist that
Walmart can have a major impact on labor discussions within Bangladesh.

In late March, Akter appeared on ABC News to again ask Walmart and other
major companies for their protection. Unfortunately, the appeals seem to
have been to no avail.

Local Police Chief Mahbubul Haq told AFP that Islam’s, “…legs had severe
torture marks including a hole made by a sharp object. All his toes were

Aminul Islam will be remembered for his hard work in promoting the rights
of some of the most exploited workers globally that often find themselves
working in dangerous work conditions with pay only slightly more than a
dollar a day.

Scott Nova, executive director of the Worker Rights Consortium told ABC
News report, “All indications are that Aminul Islam was murdered because
of his labor rights work.”

Click here to sign a petition from the International Labor Rights Forum
calling for a full investigation of Islam’s murder.

1 comment:

Organizer nyc said...

This is so very awful, I feel some quick and urgent action should be charged against the accused!