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On One-Year Anniversary of Rana Plaza Disaster in Bangladesh, CARE Honors Victims

On the first anniversary of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse that killed 1,135 people and injured 2,500 more in Bangladesh, the poverty-fighting organization CARE stands in solidarity with the victims, their families and garment factory workers across Bangladesh. Today we must remember not only those who perished but also the deplorable conditions that led to their deaths. Workers were asked to return to a building with known structural flaws, even after other businesses had been evacuated. Equally troubling is that a year later victims still have not received adequate compensation. Many families lost their only source of income, plunging them further into poverty.

Today is also about assuring a tragedy like Rana Plaza never happens again. For its part, CARE pledges to continue using its expertise and influence to promote the rights and the empowerment of garment workers in Bangladesh, the overwhelming majority of whom are women. Our experience has shown that training women in their rights and skills such as financial literacy improves their ability to negotiate improvements in safety and wages. The experience of these female garment factory workers will be CARE’s guide as we work with organizations such as the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and the Ethical Trading Initiative.

CARE also calls on other actors — retailers, factory owners, nongovernmental organizations, unions and the government of Bangladesh — to make good on their own commitments to improve overall working conditions and factory safety. There has been progress over the past year but not nearly enough. Without full follow through, these commitments are no better than the fatally flawed foundation of the Rana Plaza building itself.

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