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October 28, 2015

German court to hear plea of four heirs of victims in Feb 2016


October 28, 2015

The High Court of Dortmund in Germany will hear the case of four heirs of Baldia factory fire victims in February 2016.
This was announced by a two-member delegation of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) on Tuesday at a crowded media briefing at the Karachi Press Club organised by the National Trade Union Federation.
Miriam Saage and Carolijn of ECCHR said notwithstanding what was the cause of the fire, the fact that there was a serious lack of safety measures in Ali Enterprises could not be ignored.
On the occasion, the delegates also expressed heartfelt sympathy with the bereaved families of the earthquake victims in Pakistan and Afghanistan and demanded from governments of both countries to immediately arrange rescue and rehabilitation for the survivors.
Accompanied by labour leaders from Pakistan, the German delegates said three years had passed since the Baldia factory fire but the owners of Ali Enterprises, international brands and government had failed to meet all demands of the heirs of victims.
They regretted the government had also failed to take solid steps to prevent future incidents like the fire in Baldia factory did not happen in the future. They said despite the verdicts of apex courts and the international accords inked by the government, workplaces in Pakistan were still tantamount to virtual death traps for workers.
The delegates said there seemed to be an unholy alliance of government agencies, factory owners, international brands and social audit companies to deprive workers of their due rights of legal wages, work hours, health and safety facilities at the workplace, social security, pension and the right to make labour unions.
They said to ensure that fatal incidents like that of Baldia do not happen in the future, the NTUF and Association for the Affected People of Baldia Tragedy had held its general body meeting on October 25 in which heirs of more than 200 martyred

workers had participated.
It was said ECCHR representatives Miriam Saage and Carolijn had also attended the general body meeting and apprised the heirs about the progress of the lawsuit filed in Germany.
Sharing details of the meeting, the delegates said rumours about the causes of the fire did not in any way affect the lawsuit. They assured the heirs that irrespective of the causes of the fire, the fact that workers were burnt alive due to lack of safety measures could not be ignored because had proper safety measures been taken, the workers could have been rescued.
The delegates said German brand KIK (whose goods were being produced by the Ali Enterprises) had filed its comments on March 2015 and now the plaintiffs’ legal side was preparing to file its comments. They said the first hearing was expected in February 2016. They said it was important that the affected
The German delegation disclosed that the workers of KIK head office in Bonen had gone on strike to demand better wages and the right to form trade unions. Moreover, the workers had also expressed the resolve to extend all possible help the heirs of victims when they visited Germany for the court hearing. The ECCHR delegates said the case of Baldia factory was also in the limelight in Germany and other European Union nations.

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