Garment, leather and tannery industries have emerged as the biggest earner of foreign currency in Bangladesh which provided employment opportunities to both women and men (mostly women) from the rural areas who often face violations and exploitation in the workplace.
In order to ensure inclusive growth of industries This workforce needs leadership training to address this deficiency to ensure the rights of the workers. ActionAid Bangladesh and Global Rights Compliance LLP endeavors to move from promoting an awareness and understanding of the UNGPs to mainstreaming and operationalizing the UNGPs. Providing resources and knowledge to stakeholders in the textile, leather and tannery industries will lead to increase accountability and reduce human rights violations during the project period (15 May 2016 to 31 March 2018) and beyond. Further, the activities proposed in this project will empower workers to understand their rights and responsibilities under the UNGPs, by providing
(i) information and further trainings;
(ii) the empowerment of Participation Committees; and
(iii) training in women’s cafes.
With a budget of £225,232 provided by Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British High Commission, The project titled Advisory and Capacity Building Services on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) to Improve the Business Environment in Bangladesh. This project has been initiated for the purpose of achieving increased state, corporate and trade union understanding and uptaking of the UNGPs in the garment, leather and tannery sectors.
This project leads to increased accountability and reduced violations of human rights in businesses in Bangladesh with particular emphasis on services provided to the largest Bangladeshi trade associations in each respective sector (including the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (‘BGMEA’) and the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers & Exporters Association (‘BKMEA’)), their member factories and workers as well as working with the Directorate of Labour (Labour Welfare Centres) to develop and support in the provision of capacity building services to workers and trade unions.
The UNGPs have garnered wide support amongst governments, businesses, civil society and international and regional organisations. According to the UNGPs, to legitimately claim that they respect human rights, companies cannot only rely on their genuine belief, they need to verify and prove that they do. At a minimum, to meet their responsibility to respect human rights, business enterprises should have in place a policy commitment, a human rights due diligence process, together with a remediation procedure (UNGP 15). These policies and processes are considered as essential in order for business enterprises to know and show their respect for human rights
UNGP project has three main outcomes with specific implementation strategies-
1. Garment, tannery and leather sector businesses have improved resources and knowledge to implement UNGPs on BHR.
2. Workers, Trade Unions/Trade Union Federations (TUs/TUFs) and Labour Inspectors/Officers have increased capacity and knowledge to ensure human rights are upheld
3. Factories in the garment, leather and tannery sectors have improved tools and mechanisms in place to prevent and address human rights violations.