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8 May 2013

UN Working Group on business & human rights

UN expert body urges international brands to work with Bangladesh to prevent another garment disaster

A United Nations expert group today urged international clothing brands not to disengage from Bangladesh, but to work together with the government, international organizations, and civil society to address working conditions in the garment sector...The UN Working Group on business and human rights stressed that such commitment is crucial to prevent another disaster like the Rana Plaza collapse, where more than 780 people...“The international brands sourcing from Bangladesh have a responsibility to conduct human rights due diligence to identify and address their own impacts on human rights,” said Pavel Sulyandziga, who currently heads the...[Working Group]. “If they are linked with negative impacts...through their suppliers, they have the responsibility to exercise their leverage as buyers to try to effect change.”...[T]he expert urged the international garment sector to implement the UN Guiding Principles...on Business and Human Rights..."[A] pure audit-based approach is insufficient to address systemic issues,” he underscored....The Working Group also stressed that the government of Bangladesh has the duty to protect human rights from violations by business actors.