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May 2016 E-News

We're Hiring!

Our small, but mighty, team is currently in search of 3 new staff, to be based in Washington, D.C. Marian Manapsal will soon be heading down the street to work at the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and Matt Fischer-Daly will be starting a PhD program at Cornell's ILR school. While they will be sorely missed, we know they will continue their valuable contributions to the labor rights movement. Please help us find excellent candidates for our job openings: Campaigns & Communications Assistant, Development & Executive Assistant, and Cotton Campaign Coordinator.

Celebrating 30 Years

Thank you to everyone who supported the 2016 Labor Rights Defenders Awards on May 12! With your help, we raised over $170,000 and celebrated ILRF’s 30th Anniversary with friends, allies and leaders of our community. If you weren’t able to join us, you can check out some photos, share a laugh at our staff skit, or listen to the inspiring words from our 2016 Awardees: Uzbek Human Rights Defenders, Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. If you haven’t done so already, please give $30 in honor of ILRF’s 30th Anniversary.


2016 Awards

Thailand: Free Andy Hall!

Court proceedings began last week against Andy Hall, a British human rights activist based in Thailand, who is defending himself in court against charges of criminal defamation and computer crimes. If found guilty, Andy faces seven years in prison. The charges were brought by a pineapple export company called Natural Fruit after Andy participated in research that documented labor rights abuses including child labor, document confiscation, harassment and physical abuse at a Natural Fruit factory. The Thai Government has been an active partner with this abusive employer in the legal prosecution of Andy Hall. Tell Thailand it must stop persecuting human rights defenders! Send messages now to Thai embassies in the U.S., U.K., Australia and Canada.

Andy Hall

PepsiCo Gets Message to Respect Palm Oil Workers

Thank you to everyone who joined our joint campaign with the Rainforest Action Network to demand PepsiCo set high labor standards for ALL of its palm oil suppliers, and ensure those standards are enforced! On May 4, a photo petition with 600 of your action shots was delivered to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi at the company’s annual shareholder meeting. Click here to see a video compilation of the photo action.

FCWA PepsiCo action

Uzbek Activists Still Under Threat

Eleven years after the Government of Uzbekistan brutally massacred at least 700 citizens, it continues a campaign of violent suppression against brave civil rights activists who document state-sponsored forced labor in the annual cotton harvest, according to a new piece by Executive Director Judy Gearhart. The 2015 harvest last fall saw an unprecedented level of harassment of monitors. Show your support now for one of those monitors, Uktam Pardaev, in an international campaign to free him from three years of house arrest related to his monitoring work! Sadly, as weeding and field preparation begins for the 2016 cotton season, it is clear the Uzbek Government is continuing its repression. Another monitor, Elena Urlaeva, has been detained in a psychiatric hospital against her will, likely to prevent her from documenting forced labor in the spring weeding work.

Elena Urlaeva

Workers' Rights in Colombia's Palm Oil Sector

Despite the industry’s extensive human rights violations, the Colombian government promotes palm oil as a crucial source of employment. Between 130,000 and 140,000 Colombians currently work in the sector under exploitative and often illegal conditions. ILRF’s work with allies to expose the reality of how palm companies treat communities and workers has thus far focused on Asia, but similar problems also plague Latin America. Check out our latest blog post to learn the facts that advocates can use to push back against the narrative that palm oil jobs help “lift” Colombians out of poverty.

palm oil worker

Global Day of Action for Safe Factories

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in the May 3rd Global Day of Action for Safe Factories, whether online or at an H&M store. Together we forced H&M to listen to consumers and workers around the world who are demanding workplace safety and corporate accountability. Click here for a collage of some photos from the actions held in 40+ cities in 11 countries. With the help of thousands of activists who took action online, together we reached over a million people. For more information, read our latest research on factory safety in H&M's Bangladesh supply chain, released on the day of H&M's shareholder meeting, and also check out our campaign website

May 3rd action at H&M sourcing office in Dhaka, Bangladesh


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