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IWW International Solidarity Commission Resolution on Bangladesh

The International Solidarity Commission of the Industrial Workers of the World is deeply concerned about current repression and detention of workers and activists in Bangladesh. At the current moment, we especially highlight the situation of Kalpona Akter of the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity NGO (BCWS), and demand that she be released from detention, all charges against her be dropped, and that the NGO status of the BCWS be immediately reinstated.

Responding to the government?s cruel and insulting offer of merely $43 a month minimum wage, in the country with the lowest garment wages in the world, Bangladeshi workers took to the streets for five days. The workers were met with the full force of the Bangladeshi police and security forces, in the service of the bosses.

The ISC recalls the work we have engaged with in the past with the Bangladesh Center for Worker Solidarity [BCWS] and the National Garment Worker Federation [NGWF]. We were pleased to host her at many branches of our union in North America during a speaking tour in Spring 2010, and she stayed in many of our homes. We shared our differences, similarities, and learned a great deal from each other.

After the labor action, the BCWS has had its NGO status revoked by the Bangladeshi government, and Kalpona Akter of the BCWS, has been labeled a criminal, and accused by the state and bosses of inciting a riot. As of this writing, she has been detained in an unknown location for over 24 hours; supporters and families fear for her well-being and life, as well as that of her comrades and fellow workers.

The International Solidarity Commission expresses its full solidarity with Kalpona Akter and other unionists and workers, past, present, and future, experiencing repression from bosses with the assistance of the state. We request that the Bangladesh government, and especially its police and judicial forces, immediately release Kalpona Akter, drop all chargers, and recertify the NGO status of the Bangladesh Center for Worker.