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Rana Plaza Rally in Montreal calls for mandatory due diligence law

On Monday, 24 April 2023, a rally in downtown Montreal commemorated the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh, which killed more than 1,130 textile workers and injured more than 2,500 others, the majority of whom were women.

Participants demanded that Canada pass a mandatory due diligence law that would require companies to prevent negative human rights and environmental impacts throughout their global operations and supply chains.

They also called out companies that have been profiting from the low wages and poor working conditions of women in the textile and fast fashion industry in Bangladesh and elsewhere to start respecting worker human rights, notwithstanding the lack of real action so far by the Canadian government.

The rally was organized by the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA), the Coordination du Québec de la Marche mondiale des femmes (CQMMF), and a number of CNCA member-organizations, including Development and Peace, the Centre international de solidarité ouvrière (CISO), the Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI), Oxfam Canada and Amnesty International Canada, with the support of the United Steelworkers / Métallos, and attended in large numbers by the Conseil des Syndicats Nationaux (CSN).

Montreal’s Bangladeshi community was also present, including members of Montreal’s South Asian Women’s Community Centre, and the National Bangladeshi-Canadian Council.

Union and workers rights leaders from Bangladesh voiced messages of support. “Weak laws that merely require reporting will not protect the human rights of workers and women in the global garment trade, or make corporations accountable,” said Nazma Akter, Founder & Executive Director of the Awaj Foundation.However, if you pass due diligence laws to make sure that every company has to identify, prevent and mitigate human right risks in its whole value chain, including the company’s own purchasing practices, you can help save and improve many millions of lives.”

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