A year has now passed since the deadly Tazreen factory fire claimed the lives of 112 workers and injured hundreds more. The fact that the victims remain uncompensated for their losses and little progress has been made in bringing the perpetrators to justice demonstrates that we have failed to yet learn the lessons of this tragic incident.
The families of the deceased thus far have received nominal assistance from the BGMEA. With the exception of one brand (C&A), none of the global buyers who were producing clothing in Tazreen have delivered on their promised compensation to either the victims’ families or the survivors.
The process of bringing the perpetrators to justice has also been excruciatingly slow with investigators failing to finalise charge sheets in three out of five cases in connection with the disaster.
While initiatives have been undertaken by civil society, labour rights organisations and the ILO, the crucial missing component is a strong stance by the government and the BGMEA.
The stories of the trauma suffered by the survivors and their struggle to find a decent livelihood again are truly harrowing. The lack of action by the powers that be is condemning hundreds to live in poverty and pain. Moreover, the lack of progress in compensating the Tazreen victims bodes poorly for the prospects of the victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy.
It is now the moral imperative of the government and the BGMEA to act to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to justice and that the global buyers and the factory owners are no longer able to evade their responsibility to compensate.