ROLC Supports Young Bangladesh Labor Rights Professionals






South Asia

As a key capacity-building component of ROLC’s Bangladesh Empowering Workers for Justice (EWJ) Project in partnership with the Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), the Labor Rights Fellowship (LRF) program supported five young labor rights professionals in conducting research in five unique areas. The five LRF Fellows and their research projects were:

1) Satya Sarker, Media coverage on labor rights issues in Bangladesh;
2) Sadia Afrin Kona, Conditions on maternity leave benefits in the leather goods industry;
3) Fahad Bin Siddique, Bangladesh national building code for enforcement authority; 
4) Israt Adrita, Construction workers rights and safety; and
5) Mohammad Akiful Islam; Ensuring occupational health, safety and clean work environment in the leather goods industry.

The five Fellows were supported by the following mentors respectively: 1) Dean Andrea Hickerson (University of Mississippi); 2) Ambassador Leone Cuelenaere (former Dutch Ambassador to Bangladesh); 3) Professor Chaumtoli Huq (CUNY School of Law); 4) Professor Richard Bales (Ohio Northern University Claude W. Pettit College of Law); and 5)Sharanjeet Parmar (President, Glasshouse Initiatives). 

Throughout the LRF program, Fellows had a range of professional development opportunities to enhance their subject matter expertise. This included the LRF Fellows presenting their research reports during a consultation meeting as part of the EWJ project’s policy advocacy efforts. This allowed the Fellows to introduce their work to a wider network of industry experts, receive recommendations and feedback, and to refine their work. These expert consultations also helped build a network of individuals working towards improving working conditions in both the construction and tanneries industries.  

As the capstone to EWJ’s Labor Rights Fellowship program, on December 9, 2023, ROLC worked with BLAST and the Safety and Rights Society (SRS) to hold an in-person symposium. All five Fellows concisely presented their research and answered questions from fellow participants and attendees. Following the presentations, there were in-depth discussions involving the Fellows as well as a number of labor rights experts and advocates. This included Taslima Akhter, labor rights photographer and the acting president of Bangladesh Garment Workers’ Solidarity, as well as a representative from the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishments (DIFE). The symposium served as a creative way to showcase the Fellows’ research, as well as to foster broader and more robust engagement between the Fellows and key experts and stakeholders. The Fellows and other experts indicated that they greatly appreciated the opportunity to engage on cutting-edge issues with regards to the construction and tanneries industries.  

The Labor Rights Fellowship program and symposium was held under the auspices of our Bangladesh Empowering Workers for Justice (EWJ) Project, with support from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL).

Learn more about our EWJ project here.