The job of trade unionists in Western countries can sometimes be difficult, but it is as nothing compared to those in developing countries.
The recent arrest of Moshrefa Mishu and her detainment is an example of that, Labor is Not a Commodity has more:
“In the early morning hours, on December 14th the home of Moshrefa Mishu, president of Garment Workers Unity Forum, was descended upon by individuals claiming to be part of the Detective Branch of the Bangladesh Police force. They were able to take Moshrefa without a warrant by threatening her with arrest. Moshrefa was unable to gather important medicines before being taken by the authorities to a detention center. The rough conditions at Headquarters, constant interrogations, and inability to take asthma and spinal injury medications for 24-hours seriously contributed to the rapid deterioration of her health. This arrest is a continuation of the targeting of labor rights leaders in Bangladesh by the government and owners of garment factories in efforts to blame someone for the worker protests that have continued. You can read about the overall situation at http://www.sweatfree.org/bcws.
The outcome of her court hearing was a 2-day remand, despite her obviously ailing health, and lack of evidence surrounding the allegations. After fainting on her way to the police van after the hearing, Moshrefa was finally admitted to the National Hospital. She was transferred several times as her condition worsened, and she is currently in the emergency ward at DMCH.
Also of great concern are the restrictions being placed on the media’s ability to cover this story, and accurately relay information regarding her recovery. The police force has given strict orders that nobody is to be allowed in to see her, nor are doctors allowed to comment on her physical state. Media coverage at this time is biased, as accounts of her arrest and detention have left out significant details that could potentially bring into question the government’s course of action. “
Update 1:LabourStart has launched a new online campaign concerning Ms. Mishu.
Update 2: This piece from William Gomes, provides an update:
“Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI), the Bangladesh?s Military Intelligence is behind the arrest of labor rights activist Moshrefa Mishu, a leftist political activist and President of the Garment Workers Unity Forum (GWUF), a labor rights organization of the readymade garment factories of the country.The Director General (DG) of DGFI directly reports to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Confined in Dhaka Medical Hospital (DHMC) by highly armed police officials Moshrefa Mishu exposed the horrific torture description the in several undercover interviews to the Sri Lanka Guardian. “