The Business and Human Rights Resource Center has identified 198 cases of labor and human rights violations in Myanmar since the illegal military takeover two years ago.
The military takeover has affected at least 104,000 garment workers in Myanmar and major fashion brands have reportedly failed to protect workers in their supply chains from widespread labor rights abuses, Inditex, Bestseller, Primark and H&M being linked to the most documented claims.
These abuses range from inhumane working conditions and wage theft to the use of violence, arbitrary arrests and killings. The most common abuse allegations were wage reduction and wage theft (56%), followed by wrongful dismissal (44%).
In many cases, factory owners were the alleged perpetrators, apparently in collusion with the Myanmar military.
Fashion brands that source from these factories have in turn failed to conduct adequate human rights due diligence in the country, as they often have to rely on factory owners or a third party. to investigate worker conditions in the field (as reported by 24% of brands responding to allegations).
Data from the Business and Human Rights Resource Center shows that at least 37 fashion brands and retailers were linked to factories where abuses took place, as current or former buyers. Inditex was linked to the highest number of alleged abuse cases (15 cases), followed closely by H&M, Bestseller and Primark (13 cases each).
Additional data paints an inhumane picture that includes inhumane work rates and forced overtime accounting for 42% of all cases; gender-based violence and harassment (30%) remains a major concern; workers were denied leave in 25 percent of cases and faced unsafe working conditions in 20 percent of cases; collusion between companies and the military was recorded in 16% of recorded cases; and arbitrary arrests and detentions were recorded in 11% of cases.
Natalie Swan, Head of the Labor, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, said: “As the world focuses on other crises, Myanmar faces a perfect storm of challenges. prolonged social, political and economic – including economic recession and high levels of violence. Two years after the military coup in Myanmar, clothing brands that source from the country continue to show a worrying lack of action to ensure respect for the rights of the workers who make their clothes.
The Business and Human Rights Resource Center is an international NGO that tracks the human rights impacts (positive and negative) of more than 10,000 businesses in nearly 200 countries.