Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The collapsed Rana Plaza building near Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2013. (Photo: Abir Abdullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

The collapsed Rana Plaza building near Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2013. (Photo: Abir Abdullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

Two Years Later, Murder Charges for Rana Plaza Tragedy, But Justice Elusive

Rana Plaza building owner and family, as well as government officials, among those facing charges

Sarah Lazare

Bangladeshi police on Monday formally filed murder charges against 41 people for the Rana Plaza factory collapse over two years ago that killed 1,138 workers—most of them women—in what is is believed to be the worst single tragedy in the history of the world's garment industry.

Among those charged are building owner Sohel Rana, his parents, owners of other nearby factories, and government officials. If they are found guilty, the defendants could face the death penalty.

However, officials from the numerous Western retail corporations that did business with the factory—including Walmart, The Children’s Place, Benetton, Zara, and Mango—were not named among those facing charges.

This is despite the fact that the factory disaster shined a global spotlight on the complicity of U.S.- and Europe-headquartered corporations in the dangerous conditions, abuse, and retaliation rampant throughout Bangladesh's garment industry—which has the lowest wages in the world.

On April 24, 2013, workers were forced by their employers to enter the Rana Plaza factory, located in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka, despite expressing concern about visible cracks in the walls. The subsequent collapse and tragedy sparked record worker protests in Bangladesh and solidarity demonstrations across the world.

But years later, survivors and loved ones of the deceased say they still haven't received adequate compensation, and poor conditions persist across the industry, which employs roughly 4 million people.

Vikas Bajaj wrote in The New York Times that the charges, nonetheless, are significant "in part because factory owners wield a tremendous amount of power in Bangladesh."

"But filing charges is just the first step," Bajaj continued. "Now the government has to hold fair and speedy trials for these 41 people. It also needs to do more to help the victims of Rana Plaza. Many victims or their surviving families have not received all of the compensation they are owed. That is in part because Western clothing companies have not contributed enough money to a compensation fund that is overseen by the International Labor Organization."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Citing Need for 'New, Inclusive Leadership,' Chuy García Files for Chicago Mayoral Race

"We have an opportunity to elect a trusted and experienced leader with a history of building coalitions and a vision for a brighter future for all Chicagoans," said the Democratic congressman.

Jessica Corbett ·


On Cyber Monday, Climate Activists Take Aim at Fashion Industry

"The fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries globally. We can all do better, but it's on companies to make this industry better for workers, the planet, and consumers alike."

Jessica Corbett ·


Biden Accused of Selling Out Rail Workers by Urging Congress to Prevent Strike

"Biden is siding with corporate rail bosses over the rank-and-file workers who voted against this agreement," said one progressive commentator after the president urged lawmakers to take action to force through a deal without paid sick leave.

Brett Wilkins ·


Analysis Finds State Legislators Proposed 306 Bills Targeting Trans People in Past 2 Years

"Right-wing state lawmakers are obsessed with taking away the rights of trans people and we're obsessed with knocking them out of public office," said one rights group.

Julia Conley ·


Biden Mulls Sending Long-Range Missiles to Ukraine

While Ukrainians and supporters welcomed Boeing's proposal to arm Ukrainian forces with long-range precision-guided bombs, one anti-war voice accused the American military-industrial complex of "dictating the U.S. foreign policy and profiteering from wars."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo