November 12, 2008: In a letter sent November 11 to Jordan’s ambassador to the United States, Boat People SOS appealed to that country’s determination to safeguard the image of foreign investors and the human rights of Vietnamese guest workers.
While expressing gratitude to Jordan’s government for its role in rescuing 176 Vietnamese workers from W&D Apparel earlier this year, the letter also asked the ambassador to convey to His Majesty King Abdullah II the fact that some 30 remaining workers at W&D are petitioning to be allowed to return to Vietnam immediately.
“Their pleas have been ignored, even those of the ill,” said BPSOS executive director Nguyen Dinh Thang.
“We know that Jordan’s past assistance to Vietnamese workers at W&D represents the truest and most beneficial embodiment of its Better Work Jordan Programme, and we hope to see further responsiveness in this regard that will make Jordan a shining international beacon of labor compliance.”
Jordan’s prompt action could help the kingdom attract more foreign investment, noted the letter, since an International Finance Corporation survey shows that international apparel buyers rate labor standards as one of the most important of nine business environment factors in selecting a supplier country or factory.
“The current urgent pleas of these workers represent an opportunity to show the world that Jordan offers excellent investment opportunities, with safeguards for foreign firms’ most important asset: their public image,” said Thang. “By dealing decisively with clear-cut violations of human rights, the kingdom can reassure image-conscious clothing retailers that their good name is safe in Jordan.”
“The only desire of the 30 workers is to go home as soon as possible,” added Thang. “We will be deeply grateful to His Majesty King Abdullah II for his special attention to their respectful request.”