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US AAFA urges Bangla PM to support Nirapon

Nov '19
Pic: Nirapon
Pic: Nirapon
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) president and chief executive officer Rick Helfenbein recently wrote a letter to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed expressing concern over reports of calls to suspend Nirapon, an organisation that assures apparel brands that workers in Bangladesh are being protected.

Helfenbein urged the prime minister and other key stakeholders to fully support Nirapon and facilitate its protection of Bangladeshi workers.

“At a point when Bangladesh is poised to take advantage of the opportunities presented by today’s global market and expand, that growth is threatened by efforts to hinder the work of Nirapon and its transparent, independent, brand-backed commitment to worker safety,” the letter said.

As the successor to the AAFA-supported Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, Nirapon is an alliance of 23 brands (and growing) working to promote a culture of safety in more than 600 apparel factories through a self-regulating model of safety monitoring. Its monitoring includes structural, electrical and fire safety, training of workers on fire and building safety, as well as the ‘Amader Kotha’ helpline.

Brands believe Nirapon plays a critical role in further developing the local capacity both in the factory and in the sector, and building the will, to sustain worker safety in Bangladesh well into the future, Helfenbein wrote.

Nirapon’s role does not conflict with the work by your government and other key stakeholders to improve worker safety. In fact, Nirapon’s efforts are complementary and mutually reinforcing with these initiatives, he added.

The Bangladesh high court recently imposed a six-month ban on Nirapon, formed with the backing of 23 North American apparel brands and retailers to replace the Alliance.

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