The garment industry expressed dismay at US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s announcement of a new global initiative to establish labor rights. But Bangladesh has nothing to worry about with that move, said the State Minister of Foreign Affairs. Shahriar Alam.
On Tuesday (November 21), he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ‘Anthony Blinken’s speech was at the APEC summit. It is not just the readymade garment industry or the textile industry or any bilateral meeting with Bangladesh. This is a global initiative, through which they are giving the ambassadors of their embassies additional responsibilities. But in the case of Bangladesh, the United States has already appointed a labor attache subject to discussion with us. Any misrepresentation of information leads to some confusion and I think there is no reason to be concerned about this move by the garment industry of Bangladesh in any way.’
Nowhere in Bangladesh’s garment sector competitors does the United States get as much advantage, as Bangladesh has done, he said.
It is to be noted that US President Joe Biden has signed a memorandum titled ‘Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights and High Labor Standards Globally’ by announcing to take various measures including trade sanctions, visa policy imposition against ‘labour rights violators’. The country’s foreign minister, Anthony Blinken, announced this information in an announcement on November 16.
In Blinken’s speech, ‘Kalpana Akhtar is alive because of the US Embassy’. Asked about this, he said, ‘We will definitely ask the US in the next discussion – if my memory serves me right, Kalpana Akhtar was arrested only once in 2010. He is not alone. Several labor leaders were arrested while protesting while working with him. Later their case was withdrawn.’
He said, ‘After Rana Plaza, when some buyers in western countries refused to pay compensation, Kalpana Akhtar and two others were arrested while protesting in the United States.’
Whether Kalpana Akhter has said that he feels threatened by us, or by anyone else – we will ask the US about this, said the state minister.
Kalpana Akhtar has successfully established and led an NGO to ensure labor rights in Bangladesh. Bangladesh police records, law enforcement records – as far as we have looked, he has not informed anyone in Bangladesh that he is under threat. He said that we would like to know how true it is.