US threatens sanctions, visa restrictions for labour rights violations

Secretary of State Blinken mentions the case of Bangladeshi worker Kalpona Akter in his speech

Published : 17 Nov 2023, 09:24 PM
Updated : 17 Nov 2023, 09:24 PM

The US has announced steps like sanctions and visa restrictions in a move to cut violations of labour rights worldwide.

President Joe Biden signed a memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labour Standards Globally on Thursday.

Speaking at the rollout of the memorandum during an event of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in San Francisco, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “Advocating for the rights of workers and raising labour standards – that is a central part of our diplomacy; it’s a central part of our efforts at the Department of State.”

He said the US will work to hold accountable those who threaten, who intimidate, who attack union leaders, labour rights defenders, labour organisations – including using things like sanctions, trade penalties, visa restrictions – all the tools in their kit.

Blinken mentioned the case of Bangladeshi worker Kalpona Akter in his speech.

“We want to be there for people like Kalpona Atker, a Bangladeshi garment worker and activist, who says that she is alive today because the US embassy advocated on her behalf,” he said.

“When we use our voice, when we use our advocacy around the world, we can make a concrete difference in making sure that those who are trying to advance labour rights are protected and defended.”