Human Rights and Labor Laws

Running Head: HUMAN RIGHTS1

Human Rights and Labor Laws

April Vela

Colorado Technical University

MGM366-1303A-02 Phase 2 IP

Professor Rodger

July 26, 2012


In today’s era the United States with its current guidelines, laws, and regulations safety and child labor are under control. This cannot always be said in many other countries such as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. While in the United States, to do business internationally with them having different guidelines, laws, and regulations for safety as well as child labor laws: if things go badly it may portray poorly upon your company as well. This is especially since many Americans do not understand that in different countries child labor laws are different for a reason, it is for the function of supporting their family.

Human Rights and Labor Laws

All individuals need to work so that they can generate income to cover the expenses of their basic needs. Just as individuals need to work, they also deserve to be treated fairly by having safe work environments, fair wages, adherence to child labor laws, and fair treatment of all workers—basic human rights. While developed countries have implemented various laws to address the violation of these rights, the issue of violations continues to persist in third-world counties.

Human Rights Violations

Incidents of human rights abuse are routine for South-Asian and Sub-Saharan societies. The economies of Bangladesh and Zimbabwe reflect unacceptable practices of breached fundamental privileges compared to developed societies. In these two countries, rampant corruption and insatiability repeatedly contravene ethics. Similarities between Bangladesh and Zimbabwe include social, political, and economic instability: all contributing factors to the countries’ human rights violations. Social instability, beyond a threshold, causes structural deflections to magnify stress that increase violations. This results in crippling economic maturity, encouraging future conflicts and further political instability.


Bangladesh has recently been in the news for the poor working conditions in many of its factories. This came to the forefront of conversation after a garment factory collapsed in April 2013 that killed over 1,100 workers (MclainZain Al-Mahmood, 2013). Prior to this incident occurring, and even still, Bangladesh attracts foreign investors with its low labor costs. The low labor costs are only possible by keeping costs low. This is done by operating in the cheapest way possible, paying workers less, not offering any type of pension or savings program, and by not offering any health coverage. The recent collapse brought to light the major human rights issues that exist in the country where three-fourths of the country’s export earnings are generated from garment manufacturing (“Key Statistics,” 2012).


Facing many similar issues as Bangladesh, Zimbabwe’s socio-economic structure is riffed with civil unrest and political conflicts.While the majority of the country’s economy is based on agriculture, exports are also an important part of the economy. Exports include precious mineral and mining. This remains a very lucrative business, despite the known human rights issues associated with these industries. One of the most well-known and controversial exports to come out of Zimbabwe are Blood Diamonds— gems mined to monetarily assist conflicts were extracted following gross humanitarian exploitation—and were part of Zimbabwe’s chief income. However, in response to the human rights issues, Kimberley Process Certification imposed stringent control over the treatment of workers and the protection of human rights (Smith, 2010). These human rights violations have been permitted to persist in Zimbabwe, as there is a lack of regulation that prohibits such behavior.

Impact of Commercial Transactions with Human Rights Offenders

Commercial transactions and international trade with Bangladesh and Zimbabwe imply mute acceptance of their deplorable practices. Silent observation by prominent economies, regional trading blocs, and international regulators expresses credence to systematic exploitation. Knowing that these countries engage in the practice of denying individuals their human rights and that many workers are not provided fair wages and safe working environments, in an ideal world organizations would and should stop organizations from engaging in business with these countries.

With the garment factory collapse in Bangladesh there was public outrage over the organizations that had product manufactured there. There were pubic calls for boycotts of stores such as Wal-Mart and Gap who had approved the safety of the factory that collapsed (Strochlic, 2013). Likewise, there were boycotts called against blood diamonds from all regions, including Zimbabwe in the late 1990s (Smith, 2010). Whenever a country is associated with human rights violations, there are adverse repercussions for companies that use labor from these countries. It is highly probably and expected that if a country has human rights issues, then multinational companies will look to produce their goods elsewhere to avoid negative publicity that would be derived from associating with the country. This is liable to be more costly for the organizations as well as detrimental to the success of the economy of the countries in question.

Legal and Ethical Reaction of Businesses to Such Violations

Conducting business with countries and companies associated with human rights violations should generate specific responses, both legal and ethical. Companies working with third parties to have their products manufactured should hold each third party to the same legal standards as in their home country. This assumes that the initial company is in a developed country that has their own standards regarding worker conditions and human rights. Should the third party be found guilty of human rights violations, then the relationship should be terminated immediately, for both legal and ethical reasons. Any continuation of such a relationship only shows complicity towards the actions of human rights violators.

Organizations are driven by global conformities and regional trading norms and standards. All too frequently, extremes are seen between concern for and neglect of human rights. It is important that organizations recognize and act upon their corporate social responsibility, and that they take efforts to ensure that all workers within their supply chain are treated fairly and that their basic human rights are preserved. While the human rights issue is one that has been around for some time, companies are beginning to take the initiative to protect the rights of their workers in developing countries.

For instance, EU banned internal operators importing handicrafts from societies suspected of employing child labor. Businesses like Adidas and Nike scrapped their respective Greenfield projects located in India and China, for the same reasons. PernodRicard, a French multinational company, shelved Vietnam and Timor, as they were defined to employ child labor, physically handicapped, and destitute women, in favor of Fiji. Meanwhile, Blackberry preferred to use Mexico over Argentina, because the latter has a very poor record of women’s rights.


“Key statistics of RMG sector.”(2012). Board of Investment Bangladesh. Retrieved from

Mclain, S., & Zain Al-Mahmood, S. (2013, July 26). “After Bangladesh collapse, reckoning looms.” The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from

Smith, D. (2010, July 23). “Counting the cost of Zimbabwe’s ‘blood diamonds’.”The Guardian. Retrieved from

Strochlic, N. (2013, April 30). “JCPenney, Mango among companies that used fatal Bangladesh factory.” The Daily Beast. Retrieved from