Rights activists and business leaders have sought a national action plan for protecting human rights to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also noting that businesses and human rights are linked to the ‘Global Goals’.
Referring to big importers like the European Union (EU), they said investors feel attracted to countries that comply with the UN framework and guiding principles.
“Protecting human rights is one of the major themes of our independence,” said Planning Minister MA Mannan at a discussion in the capital on Sunday. He said the current government is working to improve the issue of the workers.
The meeting titled “Business and Human Rights: Its Links to SDG and Application in Bangladesh” was jointly organised by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Bangladesh and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangladesh.
Sharmeela Rassool, chief technical adviser at the UNDP's Human Rights Programme, said, “The readymade garment sector with 4.2 million of workers contributes 81 percent export earnings of Bangladesh. Businessmen should take UN guideline seriously while doing business.”
The meeting drew examples from Rana Plaza collapse and Tazreen Fashions factory fire while the minister reminded the businessmen about taking up adequate measures to avert casualties in garment sector.
“Bangladesh has a tremendous achievement in attaining Millennium Development Goals [MDGs]. Now the country needs to focus on achieving SDGs by maintaining UN framework and guiding principles,” Sharmeela added.
NHRC Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque expressed his concerns over child labour, which the government is determined to eliminate by 2025.
President of Bangladesh Women Chamber of Commerce and Industries Selima Ahmed, NHRC Director Kazi Arfan Ashik and Join Secretary of Finance Division Dr Khairuzzaman Mozumder were present at the programme, among others.