Fashion Complicit in Myanmar Human Rights Abuse

A new report from the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) has revealed top fashion brands’ contribution to human rights abuses under the Myanmar military regime. Inditex, Bestseller, LPP, Lidl and H&M, in particular, were all linked to the most documented allegations of abuse. The BHRRC released the data ahead of the third anniversary of Myanmar’s military takeover, saying conditions have worsened for workers since then. The report was accompanied by testimony from workers themselves, who gave first-hand accounts of unsafe working conditions, gender-based violence and harassment, inhumane work rates and mandatory overtime, as well as reduced wages and wage theft. Since the military coup in February 2021, the BHRRC has counted 401 allegations of labour and human rights violations in Myanmar’s garment sector, which it said shows big fashion brands have failed to protect workers in their supply chains from widespread abuses. “Three years after Myanmar’s military takeover, most fashion brands buying from factories in the country continue to show a concerning lack of action in ensuring protection for workers who make their clothes,” said Natalie Swan, Head of Labour Rights at the BHRRC. “In the current circumstances, where heightened human rights due diligence is not possible, brands must undertake a responsible exit from the country. Brands and investors who ignore this course of action – while continuing to benefit from low production costs in Myanmar – risk capitalising on an operating environment made possible by a regime known for its brutal rights violations and repression.”

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