The United States has condemned recent violence against garment workers in Bangladesh protesting over the minimum wage and criminalisation of legitimate worker and trade union activities.
“We are also concerned about the ongoing repression of workers and trade unions. Our principle, as we have stated before, is that government must ensure that workers are able to exercise their rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining without fear of violence, reprisal, or intimidation. And through our work in Bangladesh, and globally, we are firmly committed to advancing these fundamental human rights,” the state department spokesperson Matthew Miller said while replying to a question during the department's regular briefing on Monday.
The journalist asked the spokesperson about new US labor rights policy and whether the the US is going to take any action as five garment workers have been killed in recent days during movement demanding increase of minimum wage in Bangladesh.
Miller in his reply said, “So in the remarks last week that you referred to, the Secretary outlined how we engage with governments, workers, labour organisations, trade unions, civil society, and the private sector around the world to protect and promote respect for internationally recognised labour rights. We will continue to do that in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world.”
In another question about the 12th general election, a journalist said ruling Awami League officially denied the US calls for dialogue and asked what steps the US is going to take to prevent this one-party, authoritarian rule in Bangladesh.
In reply, Miller reiterated that the US don’t take a position in favour of one party or the other.
“We want what the Bangladeshi people themselves want: free and fair elections which are conducted in a peaceful matter – manner. And we will continue to engage with the government, opposition, civil society, other stakeholders to urge them to work together for the benefit of the Bangladeshi people to ensure that outcome: free and fair elections conducted in a peaceful manner.”