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Comments   Listen   Print   article:337831:13::0
In the Media

article imageOfficials rule deadly Bangladesh fire sabotage

By Greta McClain
Nov 27, 2012 in World
Dhaka - As Bangladesh observed a national day of mourning in honor of those killed in a textile plant fire on Saturday, officials announced the fire was "sabotage".
The fire, which claimed the lives of 111 people at the Tazreen Fashions Ltd garments factory, also injured more than 150 people according to EuroNews.
Protesters have been demonstrating for the past two days, carrying black flag and blocking traffic, vowing to make sure changes are made to the safety standards in factories across the country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had announced earlier on Tuesday that she believed the fire was deliberately set, but did not give further details., Later in the day, Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, the interior minister of Bangladesh, confirmed that the fire was an act of sabotage, saying:
"We have come to the conclusion that it was an act of sabotage. We are finding out as of now who exactly the saboteurs are and all culprits will be brought to book."
The fire has focused the spotlight on many global retailers. Sears, a U.S. retailer, has said they are investigating reports that one of their brands had been found among the charred debris, claiming none of the retailer's clothing was supposed to be made at the factory. Walmart issued a statement on Monday saying the factory is no longer authorized to produce merchandise for the company, and that their thoughts are with the families of the victims.
Safety Conditions
For years, poor safety and working conditions at many Bangladeshi factories has been reported. Habibur Rahman, the Dhaka district police chief, told Reuters they are investigating accusations that factory managers prevented workers from running out of the building after the fire alarm sounded. Witnesses have said that some of those killed died when they jumped from windows of the 11 floor building.
Erica Smiley, campaigns director for Jobs with Justice, told the Chicago Tribune:
"We've known for a long time about conditions in these plants in Bangladesh...The organizations we work with in Bangladesh had a track of these factories including the (Tazreen) factory. There are sometimes very basic issues like having an emergency exit, not being locked in and being able to take bathroom breaks."
According to an International Labor Rights Forum report, 700 garment workers have died as a result of unsafe buildings in Bangladesh since 2005.
In 2006, 84 people were killed in a factory fire in the southern port of Chittagong where fire exits had been blocked.
article:337831:13::0
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