The final death toll at Rana Plaza was 1,127. It was by far the worst disaster in the centuries-long history of garment industry tragedies. Yet, the response of the international garment industry and the government in Bangladesh thus far has been to promise basic safety standards and workers’ rights that should have been in place years ago.
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As several hundred migrants from Anhui staged a protest in Beijing on 8 May demanding a proper investigation into the suspicious death of a young migrant at a local market, police descended in force and helicopters circled above to make sure the protest did not get out of hand. Front page photograph of a now demolished migrant community in Beijing.
Sunday 28 April is the International Labour Organization World Day for Safety and Health at Work, the day workers around the world commemorate the victims of work accidents and occupational disease and urge all governments to take action.
Ten years ago, a young migrant worker, Sun Zhigang, was brutally beaten to death whilst in police custody in Guangzhou. When the incident was reported by the Southern Metropolitan Daily at the end of April 2003, it caused a national outrage and mounting public pressure forced the newly installed government in Beijing to quickly dismantle regulations controlling the movement of migrant workers in an attempt to prevent a similar tragedy in the future.