After Tazreen fire, companies evade compensation: HRW

New York based human rights organization Human Rights Watch said on Monday global clothing brands tied to Tazreen factory that had caught fire two years ago should immediately support full and fair compensation for workers and families of the dead. ‘Survivors of the fire at Tazreen Fashions are still suffering from their injuries and loss of income,’ HRW said in a press release. It said only two out of 16 firms linked to the factory are believed to have paid any meaningful amount of compensation to the victims.

Five companies have paid nothing, claiming the factory was making or storing their products without their knowledge or authorization. Other companies have offered undisclosed charitable donations. At least 112 workers died in the fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory on November 24, 2012, in Savar, outside the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Managers had barred them from leaving by the stairs since they said it was a false alarm, survivors said. The exits were also blocked with cartons as the factory was rushing to fill an order. Workers were badly injured as they jumped out of the upper floors of the burning factory. Hundreds continue to suffer from their injuries and cannot afford their medical treatment. The fire took place in the same industrial town where five months later the Rana Plaza building collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers. “The victims of Tazreen, like those of the Rana Plaza tragedy, need a huge amount of support. Many of the survivors might have escaped the flames, but their lives are ruined,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

“These global brands should no longer dodge their duty to help these people.” Interviewees said they had received 100,000 Bangladesh Taka (US$1,267) in compensation from the Bangladesh government and the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), but they had spent most of the funds within the first year of the disaster on medical costs.

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