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09/11/2013

Bangladesh Retailers Alliance Appoints Human Rights Veteran as President

The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety reports that human rights expert and attorney Jeffrey Krilla has been named president of the coalition representing 20 North American apparel companies, retailers and brands. Krilla brings extensive foreign policy experience to the position, having spent most of his career working around the globe on trade, development and human rights issues.

While a lawyer at Dentons US LLP, Krilla co-chaired the firm's Africa Committee and was the member of its Public Policy and Regulation practice. Prior, Krilla served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. There he created the Department's first-ever Office of International Labor Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility.

He also co-chaired the Secretary's Global Internet Freedom Task Force, working with technology companies and a coalition of nongovernmental organizations to press governments around the world on internet freedom of speech issues. He represented the State Department during free trade agreements to ensure the inclusion of labor provisions that address worker safety and the right of assembly. He also led the Department's efforts to address supply chain issues in the electronics and apparel industries.

"Jeffrey's experience championing the rights of workers around the globe makes him the ideal person to lead the Alliance as it seeks to rapidly improve the lives of workers in Bangladesh," said Ellen O'Kane Tauscher, Alliance chair. "His extensive foreign policy experience and his deep understanding of this issue will guide the organization as it strives toward its goal of inspecting all Alliance factories by next summer."

"I'm excited to join an organization that is already making real progress in improving the lives of Bangladesh garment workers," said Krilla. "Just nine weeks after being formed, the Alliance has already achieved some significant milestones and has been a part of fruitful discussions with key stakeholders, including the ILO and the Accord, on developing common safety standards that will transform conditions of our workers."

The Alliance continues to make significant progress since it launched in early July. Today, September 10, the Alliance achieved key milestones, including:
  • Developed a draft set of common fire and building safety standards. As part of the Alliance's commitment to transparency and collaboration, the draft standards were shared in advance of and discussed at the ILO-convened meeting in Dhaka on September 7.
  • Developed a fire and safety training curriculum framework for use by factory managers and employees.
  • In process towards collaborating with partners on the ground to develop a training program for workers, and a means for reporting workplace concerns.
Last week, the Alliance was part of an ILO-moderated discussion in Dhaka. A draft of the Alliance's common set of fire and building safety standards were shared with the ILO, Accord, BGMEA, BUET and the Bangladeshi Ministry of Labour and Employment in advance of the meeting.

Through continued discussions and acts of transparency, the Alliance aims to make progress toward identifying a common, shared set of standards that will ultimately serve to make garment factories in Bangladesh safer.