Savar tragedy a watershed in RMG sector: French envoy
Visiting French Ambassador at-Large for Human Rights François Zimeray on Tuesday said the Savar tragedy is a watershed in the garment sector like the Bhopal disaster in the Indian chemical industry.
“The Rana Plaza collapse was not only the collapse of a building, but the collapse of respect, collapse of law, collapse of justice and enforcement,” he told a pre-departure press conference at Alliance Française in the capital.
French Ambassador in Dhaka Michel Trinquier was also present.
Calling upon the international buyers to face their responsibilities, Zimeray said, “We must put an end to the era of fashion cynicism. Ignorance, indifference and complicity are only one step removed. We refuse to be accomplices.”
Ambassador Zimeray, who arrived in Dhaka on Monday for a two-day visit, following the huge hue and cry of consumers in France at the death of 1,130 garment workers at Rana Plaza, he calls on the brands whose labels have been found in the rubble of the building to contribute to compensation funds for the victims.
“In terms of industrial responsibility, the Savar tragedy is a watershed in the garment sector like the Bhopal disaster in the chemical industry,” he observed.
Replying to a question about incidences of enforced disappearance in Bangladesh, the French ambassador at-large termed the forced disappearance a terrible crime and said this is an example of the collapse of law.
“This is a terrible crime… crime against humanity. This is an example of the collapse of law,” he added.
Responding to a question about the current trial of war criminals in the ICT, he said fighting against impunity is necessarily to prevent new crimes, new mass crimes in the future.
“This is difficult for any country, any society. Even in France, it was difficult for us. It is never easy. It is always difficult to combine reconciliation and justice,” he said adding “Justice is not revenge. I know there is debate over death penalty. No justice is perfect. Justice can be wrong.”
The French envoy further said it is also important to send message that the global violence needs to decrease, but it will have to ensure respect to the highest defence principles.
Turning again on Rana Plaza incident, “You (Bangladesh authorities) need to send a strong message that lessons, from this tragedy, have been taken.” He said it is very important that Bangladesh is brand and when people buy a product they buy the brand.
On another question, he said, “first the solution will come from here, not from abroad.” He laid emphasis that Bangladesh needs to work more closely with the ILO and transform the written things into reality.
“But our part as consumers, as buyers, as clients is to ask the brands to check more carefully,” Ambassador-at-large Zimeray said.