State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has said Bangladesh would seek a clarification on prominent labour rights activist Kalpona Akter's remarks as quoted by US Secretary of State Anthony J Blinken recently.
"We want to know its authenticity. We will seek a clarification," Shahriar told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs while responding to a question.
The state minister said there is no record of any law enforcement agency of Kalpona being threatened in Bangladesh.
He said the government wants to know where and when Kalpona said she felt threatened in Bangladesh.
"We want to be there for people like Kalpona Atker, a Bangladeshi garment worker and activist, who says that she is alive today because the US embassy advocated on her behalf," said US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken at the rollout of the Presidential Memorandum on "Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally" on November 16.
The state minister said the US appointed a Labour Attaché in Dhaka about a year ago, which was facilitated by the government. "We have advanced a lot bilaterally."
The United States said they will work to hold accountable those who threaten, intimidate, and attack union leaders, labour rights defenders, and labour organisations – including using things like sanctions, trade penalties, and visa restrictions – using all the tools in their kit.
Shahriar said this was not announced in any bilateral meeting and Secretary Blinken's remarks were not garment industry-specific.
The garment sector has no logical reason to be worried about this as it was announced as part of a global initiative by the US, he said.