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Statement protesting the arrest of Moshrefa Mishu, garment workers leader in Bangladesh

18 December 2010

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We strongly protest the unlawful arrest of garment workers leader Moshrefa Mishu, demand that she be immediately released, and that the fabricated charges against her be dropped.

Moshrefa Mishu, general secretary of the Ganatantrik Biplobi Party and the president of the Garment Workers Unity Forum, was picked up from her home in Kala Bagan at 1.15 am on 14.12.2010 by a force of 12 persons or so claiming to be from the Detective Branch of Police, and was compelled to accompany them to an undisclosed destination. The force did not have an arrest warrant, and when Mishu persisted in asking them to show a warrant, they threatened to arrest her. She was only allowed to change her clothes but not allowed to take her medication with her, for asthma, and for a severe spinal injury caused by an attack on her life several years ago.

Moshrefa Mishu was produced in CMM court after noon today and remanded for two days. We protest against her illegal arrest, and demand her immediate release.

We also protest, and condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the government’s response to the garment workers demands for the implementation of a new minimum wage that should have come into effect last month. More than 3 million people, mostly women, work in this sector which accounts for 80% of annual export earnings and make clothes for major Western brands including Wal-mart, Marks & Spencer and Carrefour. Three persons were killed in clashes with the police in the Chittagong EPZ yesterday, hundreds injured, 33 arrested, and 3 separate cases lodged against about 30,000 unknown people.

Instead of taking ‘tough action’ to ensure that factory owners implement what is, by all accounts a low increase, prime minister Sheikh Hasina has in effect ordered that action be taken against the workers who, even with the increases remain the least-paid in the world, and largely unable to arrange shelter and buy food in a situation where food-prices are spiralling upwards uncontrollably. Safety conditions in many factories are below standard, as can be gauged from the deaths of 24 people, and injuries suffered by scores more, when a fire broke out at a garment factory in Ashulia, Savar today.

We condemn the government’s anti-people actions (killing, baton charges,
firing tear gas, filing cases), we demand that Moshrefa Mishu and all others
arrested be released immediately, and that the government take immediate and transparent action to identify those who were behind the acts of vandalism, who, according to the Home Minister herself, are ’outsiders.’

December 15th, 2010


  1. Dr. Akmal Hossain, Dhaka University
  2. Dr. M M Akash, Dhaka University
  3. Robaet Ferdous, Dhaka University
  4. Zobaida Nasrin Kona, Dhaka University
  5. Dr. Shantonu Mazumdar, Dhaka University
  6. Mesbah Kamal, Dhaka University
  7. Dr Rahman Chowdhury, Dhaka University
  8. Fahmidul Haq, Dhaka University
  9. Dr. Kaberi Gayen, Dhaka University
  10. Khorshed Alam, Dhaka University
  11. Dr Gitiara Nasreen, Dhaka University
  12. Mohammad Tanzimuddin Khan, Dhaka University
  13. Dr Perween Hasan, Dhaka University
  14. Lala Rukh Selim, Art Institute, Dhaka University
  15. Anu Muhammad, Jahangirnagar University
  16. Dr. Nasim Akhtar Hossain, Jahangirnagar University
  17. Sayeed Ferdous, Jahangirnagar University
  18. Dr. Manosh Chowdhury, Jahangirnagar University
  19. Mirza Taslima Sultana, Jahangirnagar University
  20. Sayema Khatun, Jahangirnagar University
  21. Mahmudul H. Sumon, Jahangirnagar University
  22. Nasrin Khondokar, Jahangirnagar University
  23. Swadhin Sen, Jahangirnagar University
  24. Sadaf Noor-e-Islam, Chittagong University
  25. Khadija Mitu, Chittagong University
  26. Abdullah Al Mamun, Rajshahi University
  27. Amena Khatun, Rajshahi University
  28. Kazi Shusmin Afsana, Rajshahi University
  29. Dr Firdous Azim, BRAC University
  30. Dr. Khaliquzzaman Elias, North South University
  31. Dr. Piash Karim, BRAC University
  32. Hasan Al Zayed, East West University
  33. Ahmed Javed Chowdhury Ronie, North South University
  34. Dr. Samia Huq, Anthropologist
  35. Fatama Sultana Suvra, Mirpur University College
  36. Priscilla Raj, journalist
  37. Shameema binte Rahman, broadcast journalist
  38. Faruk Wasif, journalist, writer
  39. Irin Niazi Manna, journalist
  40. Dr. Zafrullah Chowdhury, Gonoshasthya Kendra
  41. Hameeda Hossain
  42. Khushi Kabir, development activist
  43. Farah Kabir, development activist
  44. Zakir Kibria, Solidarity Workshop
  45. Shahid I Mallick, development activist
  46. Sharif Khan, human rights activist
  47. Aminul Islam Sujon, activist, POBA
  48. Barrister Sara Hossain, advocate, Bangladesh Supreme Court
  49. Khaleda Khatoon, human rights lawyer/activist
  50. Dr. Faustina Pereira, Advocate, Bangladesh Supreme Court
  51. Farhad Mazhar, writer, activist UBINIG
  52. Farida Akhter, writer, activist UBINIG
  53. Audity Falguni, writer
  54. Nur Mohammad, writer
  55. Salimullah Khan, writer
  56. Khademul Islam, writer, critic
  57. Rahnuma Ahmed, writer, columnist
  58. Naripokkho, Bangladesh (Organisation)
  59. Dilara Begum Jolly, artist
  60. Shibu Kumar Shil, artist
  61. Mita Rahman, actress
  62. Mohiudin Ahmad, publisher
  63. Hana Shams Ahmed, member, Drishtipat Writers’ Collective
  64. Jenneke Arens, Netherlands
  65. Dr Shahidul Alam, photographer/Drik
  66. Qamruzzaman, photographer
  67. Taslima Akhter, political activist and photographer
  68. Suraiya Begum, researcher
  69. Nasrin Siraj Annie, researcher, film maker
  70. Seema Nusrat Amin, researcher
  71. Sazia Rahman, researcher
  72. Bangladesh Group Netherlands (Organisation)
  73. Omar Tarek Chowdhury, writer, translator
  74. Saydia Gulrukh, doctoral student, USA
  75. Sarah Shehabuddin, doctoral student, USA
  76. Mahbub Kabir, doctoral student, Dublin
  77. Dilshad Siddiquea, service
  78. Muhammad Rizuoanul Islam, service
  79. Farjana Moni, law student
  80. Syful Akbar Khan, copywriter, ad agency
  81. Shameem Akhter, film-maker
  82. Susmita Chakraborty, Rajshahi University
  83. Selim Reza Newton, Rajshahi University
  84. Laura Wagner, Graduate Student, Department of Anthropology, UNC Chapel Hill, USA
  85. Maria Sorlie Berntsen, Bergen University Norway
  86. Naeem Mohaiemen, member, Drishtipat Writers’ Collective
  87. Mehedi Hasan, writer