Exactly one year ago, we received a call from one of our friends in Savar that a building is collapsing with a very loud noise. We were surprised, “what building is it?” we asked, and she replied “its some Rana Plaza, and it had several garment factories in it, I think there will be casualties.”
We rushed to the site, and hours later we found ourselves digging into the rubble with unknown faces from nearby crowed to other garment workers. We could hear screams coming from within the rubble, and screams coming from the crowed. All we could see was stares of overwhelming shock, despair in the faces of the family members of the victims trapped inside who had been rushing in to the spot, law enforcers and army personnel filling the place and pushing everyone away.
That day was a catastrophe, and it is now behind us. We pray and hope that such a terrorizing experience never occurs again in any country of the world. The stench of rotting human corpses linger on to this place just like the haunting memories which doesn’t seem to heal. Thousands died and Thousands wounded – Rana Plaza was truly the biggest industrial disaster in modern history.
Today, when these victims need the brands to be beside them, the brands have done too little and they are too late. A year is a long time for a poor life clinging on to hope after rising through something like Rana Plaza; the hope centered around compassion from those who has never been directly held responsible for their actions abroad by their governments.
In unison with millions of garment workers, and with the victims themselves, we echo the demand of a proper compensation for Rana Plaza Victims by the brands who have not yet accumulated a small amount from their immense profits for these workers. We respect Primark for its leadership in creating a good example, however we are yet to see others following that lead.
We also demand a charge sheet immediately presented against Mr. Soheil Rana, and hope to see exemplary punishment for all those involved in this mass murder, including the owners of the factories. We also strongly demand Spain, the EU and Bangladesh to cooperate together to bring back the Spanish Owner of Phantom Tec Mr. David Mayor Rico to Bangladesh for facing trials; Mr. Rico fled Bangladesh just after the collapse of Rana Plaza. We demand the much famed TUV Rheinland to be answerable and accountable for its role during the inspection of a factory in Rana Plaza, Phantom Apparels Ltd, for which they issued a certificate.
RISE today salutes and continues to cooperate with international initiatives, individual or organized, to pursue justice for the oppressed and awareness for the masses. Together we can keep the candle of effort alive, just like to kept it alive at the first hour of 24 April 2014 in the memory of those who fought for the lives and those who survived and those who succumbed to the greed of corporates, industrialists and politically backed goons like Mr. Sohel Rana.
In Solidarity and Mourning,