World Council of Churches

A worldwide fellowship of churches seeking unity, a common witness and Christian service

You are here: Home / Press centre / News / Concern and solidarity for Bangladesh

Concern and solidarity for Bangladesh

17 May 2013

The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed solidarity with Bangladesh, and concern over recent tragedies in the country, including the loss of over a thousand lives in a garment factory accident near Dhaka, as well as increasing attacks against religious minorities.

“I express deep sadness over the deaths and injuries of so many people who continue to suffer because of politics, religious persecution and lack of basic human rights and security in the workplace,” said Tveit in his letter to WCC member churches and the National Council of Churches in Bangladesh.

He stressed the need to introduce immediate steps to improve working conditions of garment factory workers, especially women, who he said are forced to work in unfavourable conditions.

“Despite having drastically increased their presence in the labour force, Bangladeshi women still face disadvantages and discrimination in the workplace.”

“Labour conditions and safety provisions in factories across the country are not adequate to meet normal labour-law standards and must be improved upon,” Tveit added.

Mentioning a recent solidarity visit of an ecumenical delegation to Bangladesh, he said that “it is very disheartening to hear about this development of communal hatred in Bangladesh, once known for its tolerance and now grappling with religious intolerance and politicization of religion.”

“The systematic violation of human rights is most unfortunate and needs to end.”

Tveit affirmed WCC’s commitment “to supporting all persecuted minorities, irrespective of their religions,” saying that the “human rights and dignity of every person should be upheld.”

The WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) has been accompanying the churches in Bangladesh in their efforts to build peace and communal harmony. The South Asia Ecumenical Forum on Peace and Security, coordinated by the CCIA, has been a platform for addressing these concerns.

Read full text of the WCC general secretary’s letter

Solidarity visit to Bangladesh amidst growing religious intolerance
(WCC news release of 15 April 2013)

Commission of the Churches on International Affairs

WCC member churches in Bangladesh