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Dhaka Tribune

Savar tragedy: US ready to help

Update : 26 Apr 2013, 09:05 AM

The US government says it is ready to assist Bangladesh at the time of present situation regarding Savar building collapse and has wished a quick recovery of those injured in the in the tragic incident.

“…so we stand ready to assist, but in terms of the investigation into what happened, I believe that Bangladeshi authorities are still looking into it,” Patrick Ventrell, Acting Deputy Spokesperson of the US State Department, said in a regular briefing in Washington yesterday.

He also said it does underscore the urgent need for the government, owners, buyers, and labourers to find ways of improving working conditions in Bangladesh, reports UNB.

The spokesperson said this is a terrible tragedy, and their hearts go out to the victims of the building collapse. “We also extend our wishes for a swift recovery to those who were injured and our appreciation for the many first-responders who are selflessly working to rescue and aid the hundreds that were trapped.”

He said their initial look is that there are number of different companies that were in this very large factory. “Not yet able to share details one way or another whether there were any American companies.”

Responding to a question whether they have spoken to any of the companies involved he said, “We certainly have been in touch with our Bangladeshi counterparts from our Embassy in Dhaka, but I’d have to check on that.”

While replying to a question on labour issue, the assistant spokesperson said it appears that those workers were not permitted to unionise, and that may have – in other words, some of them – a lot of were forced to work even though the cracks were starting to appear in the building. “There is a very ugly backstory.”

He said they regularly note ongoing concerns. “You’re right, we had a very specific part about labor rights in our section on Bangladesh, including factory conditions. So it’s something that we’ve raised in the Human Rights Report, we raise in our bilateral dialogue, certainly directly with the government from our Embassy, but also I know Assistant Secretary Blake has been involved and has travelled and raised this with Bangladeshi authorities in the past as well. So, we’ve consistently raised it.”  



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