The business community will have to play an important role in protecting human rights in their factories and firms as 90 percent of the population work in the private sector, said speakers yesterday.
“There should be a realisation among the private sector that upholding human rights is also good for business,” said Sudipto Mukerjee, country director of UNDP Bangladesh. He said awareness has to be raised among the private sector so that they comply with labour laws.
Mukerjee made the comments at a seminar on “Business and Human Rights” at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka. The discussion was jointly organised by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Bangladesh and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Bangladesh.
Speakers said contributions in protecting human rights would have to be taken into consideration before selecting individuals as commercially important persons.
They said business firms that comply with human rights principles can make more profit as job satisfaction of employees would be higher.
NHRC Chairman Kazi Reazul Hoque said the government would have to protect the rights of migrant workers who send billions of dollars in remittance every year and the garment workers who are driving export earnings.
He said although human rights are protected a little in the formal sector, it is absent in the informal sector although the latter employs the majority of labourers.
Hoque said the existing labour laws were yet to be properly implemented. These laws also need amendments.
MA Mannan, state minister for finance and planning, said there should be more regulations to protect human rights in businesses. He said established by the government has to protect human rights, NHRC has to be strengthened so that it can work properly.