05/02/2013, 00.00
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Caritas Bangladesh: After the Pope’s words, we are all responsible for the deaths of Rana Plaza

by Nozrul Islam
Benedict Alo D'Rozario, executive director of Caritas, expresses "comfort and gratitude" for the words of Francis, who termed the work of those who died in the building collapse "slave labor". Since April 24 Caritas provides medicines, food, water and psychological assistance to the victims' families. "Everyone knows the situation of these factories - he explains - but we must begin to ask what we can and should do to ensure the dignity and rights of every human being."

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - The Rana Plaza tragedy "is a responsibility that falls to each of us. And we are grateful to Pope Francis for pointing out the value of human dignity in this our story. We feel comforted." Benedict Alo D'Rozario, executive director of Caritas Bangladesh tells AsiaNews. Since April 24, when the building collapsed with more than 3 thousand people inside,  Caritas has been engaged in the rescue and assistance to the families of the victims.

Yesterday, during the Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Casa Santa Marta on the occasion of the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, Pope Francis also spoke of Bangladesh and what happened at Rana Plaza. " Not paying a just [wage], - he said - " not providing work, focusing exclusively on the balance books, on financial statements, only looking at making personal profit. That goes against God!... A headline that impressed me so much the day of the Bangladesh tragedy, 'Living on 38 euros a month': this was the payment of these people who have died ... And this is called 'slave labor!'. And today in this world there is slavery that is made with the most beautiful gift that God has given to man: the ability to create, to work, to be the makers of our own dignity. "

For D'Rozario, the pope's words are a great comfort, and for that "through the Nunciature, we'll send Pope Francis' message to the Prime Minister and the President of Bangladesh." "Our daily work - he explains - is the recovery of the people, the distribution of water, medicine and food, the identification of the bodies and return of the bodies to their families. As of today we have started a new project for the social and psychological support of survivors and victims' families. For at least a month Dhaka University psychologists, social and religious workers will offer assistance to those who need it. "

According to the director of Caritas a tragedy like that of Rana Plaza, with a toll now estimated at more than 400 deaths and 2 thousand wounded, "is all our responsibility: governments, industry, customers, everyone. Businessmen from rich countries come to us because labor is cheap, but everyone forgets how hard the lives of workers are, when they are paid 50 dollars a month! Our government has tried to do something, but private companies rebelled, which have no scruples and which enter into contracts with foreign companies".

"I think everyone - he presses - should ask why a shirt produced in Bangladesh costs 20 euro, while if it is produced in Europe it costs 80 EUR.  Must we continue in this way, ignoring the respect that all are worthy of, so others can sleep soundly? However, I believe that we must be aware that people from all over the world deserve equal dignity and human rights, not only of those who live in our own country. Everybody knows about this situation, the government and the people, but we must examine our conscience, and ask what we can all do together. It is our responsibility to do everything possible to ensure and uphold the rights and dignity of every human being. "


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