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9 Gen 2019

Oliver Pieper, Deutsche Welle (Germany)

Kik trial questions 'customer is king' mantra

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Four Pakistani citizens are suing German discounter KiK over a fire that broke out at one of its suppliers in Karachi on 11 September 2012 [causing the deaths of more than 250 people]… 

[Remo Klinger, the lawyer defending the claims of four Pakistanis contends that] "adhering to human rights standards is not just an obligation for states, but also for private companies"…[For Klinger,] KiK had neglected fire safety regulations and hence shared responsibility for the high number of casualties.

KiK…has so far paid more than €6 million in damages to people affected by the fire. The Dortmund trial, however, is a civil suit for pain and suffering…and the judges have to decide whether to dismiss the claim because of the statute of limitations, according to Pakistani law…

[KiK] executives…[claim] that the real culprits are currently being sued in Pakistan, adding that German companies should not be held responsible for the criminal acts of Pakistani attackers. KiK also points to the international SA 8000 quality seal, which Italian surveyor Rina bestowed on the factory…before the fire broke out…

Thomas Seibert from the human rights organization medico international…thinks little of the company citing an expert report from Italy's Rina…

Seibert hopes that German Development Minister Gerd Müller will soon initiate a bill to make German firms adhere to safety standards…He also notes that clothing consumption has risen dramatically over the past three decades; that is during the time when a lot of the production facilities were relocated to poorer nations...

Part of the following timelines

German court dismisses lawsuit against KiK over liability for fire at factory in Pakistan in 2012

KiK lawsuit (re Pakistan)