US will hold anti-labour rights people accountable
The United States has said they will work to hold accountable those who threaten, intimidate, and attack union leaders, labour rights defenders, and labour organisations.
Tolls like sanctions, trade penalties, and visa restrictions will be used against them, the US said.
"We want to be there for people like Kalpona Atker, a Bangladeshi garment worker and activist, who says that she is alive today because the US embassy advocated on her behalf," said US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken at the rollout of the Presidential Memorandum on "Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labour Standards Globally" on Thursday.
He said when the US uses itsvoice and advocacy around the world, it can make a concrete difference in making sure that those who are trying to advance labour rights are protected and defended.
"We will strengthen the federal government's capacity to advance worker rights abroad by prioritising greater job opportunities for employees with labour expertise, training our personnel to know about worker rights, to look for and prevent abuses," Blinken said.
He said they will work with governments and multilateral institutions like the United Nations, with the G20, to promote labour rights and standards.
"This will be part of the work that we do in these international organisations, where so many of the rules are set. It happens in windowless rooms around the world, but it is important -- the standards, the norms, the rights that are established. These have a profound effect around the world. We are going to be in there making sure that we are advocating for labours."
Blinken said the US will step up its due diligence and enforcement to ensure that its own trade agreements and supply chains protect workers, and that the country is not importing goods made with forced labour.
The US secretary of state said they will engage governments, workers, labor organisations, trade unions, civil society, and the private sector around the world to protect and promote respect for internationally recognised labour rights.
"That means, for instance, that all of our ambassadors, all of the folks running our embassies around the world, will engage with workers, with unions so that their voices are reflected in everything that we do."
The Presidential Memorandum for the first time directs chiefs of mission and department officials to directly engage in labor diplomacy and enhancing programming and public messaging on workers and labour rights.