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Labor rights activist murdered in Bangladesh

April 13, 2012

Hesperian is deeply saddened and outraged by the murder of Bangladeshi labor activist Aminul Islam.

Aminul was an organizer at the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity (BCWS) and a local leader for the Bangladesh Garment and Industrial Workers Federation (BGIWF). He fought tirelessly alongside workers, unions, and organizations from Bangladesh and around the world to raise poverty-level wages, improve safety in response to tragic factory fires, and promote fair and healthy work in Bangladesh.

We first connected with Aminul in 2003 while developing our book A Workers’ Guide to Health and Safety. BCWS field-tested and contributed to several sections on the hazards of garment work, sharing not only their own experience and knowledge as organizers but also the comments, feedback, ideas, and suggestions of their Bangladeshi coworkers.

Aminul’s murder comes at a time of great progress and success for the workers’ movement in Bangladesh. He was fatally silenced by those who want to continue profiting from the poverty and ill health of workers in Bangladesh, who want to instill fear among those fighting for their rights.  When our staff connected with Aminul after he had been released from being arrested on trumped-up charges and tortured a few years ago, they were struck by his impossibly-cheery, positive outlook and his incredible courage and strength. We have all lost an important colleague.

Hesperian joins the international community in demanding that Aminul’s death be promptly investigated and those responsible brought to justice. BCWS has asked us to urge the government of Bangladesh to take action by sending a letter to the Prime Minister.  Please take a moment to join this campaign