This isn't about capacity or care, but it is about human rights. I'm sure you've all heard about the collapse of the garment factory in Bangladesh this week, killing at least 300 people and injuring over 2000. Inspectors had warned that the factory was unsafe only the day before and requested evacuation and closure. The factory supervisors refused, the workers continued to produce clothes by Primark, Bennetton, Monsoon and other high street brands in the West, and the factory collapsed the next day.
In the short term, the priority is clearly to get aid to the trapped and injured workers, and their families. Victoria Butler-Cole (of 39 Essex Street fame) has set up this great 'Tax your T-Shirt' site where you can donate to Action Aid to support victims of the disaster. There are, however, much more fundamental questions about the rights of workers who make the clothes we wear. If you are interested in finding out more about who is making your clothes, their rights and how you can help to improve conditions in the global garment industry, you could check out the work of Labour Behind the Label (you might want to see what the brands you buy are doing to improve working conditions).
Eleanor Roosevelt, 1958
'Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home -- so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person... Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere. Without concerted citizen action to uphold them close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the larger world.' Eleanor Roosevelt, 1958