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DHAKA – The Bangladeshi Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser has called for the re-imposition of sanctions against Myanmar in the wake of ongoing accusations of genocide. “We have to re-impose the sanction because the sanction was removed as a good will and a gesture of good behaviour to come from Myanmar,” Gowher Rizvi said at a conference organised by BRAC University, the Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University and ActionAid Bangladesh, an NGO.

“Without pressure, nothing will happen. Myanmar won’t be secure for the Rohingyas. If Myanmar is not secure, Rohingyas will not go back,” Rizvi said.

Economic sanctions against Myanmar’s military regime were withdrawn after the emergence of democracy in the country. In recent years, brands such as Gap Inc, H&M and M&S, along with dozens of other apparel retailers have flocked into the country, which has increasingly been seen as a viable sourcing alternative to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The comments of such a high profile figure will inevitably ring alarm bells among brands sourcing from Bangladesh, who are already worried Myanmar will lose its GSP status.

Apparel Insider understands that many brands are deeply concerned by mass killings, genocide and ethnic cleansing which have taken place in the past 18 months in Myanmar’ Rakhine State, and continue to monitor the situation closely.

The conference adopted a 16-point Dhaka Declaration which called upon the international community to ensure voluntary, dignified and safe return of the Rohingyas, who fled atrocities, including killings and burning of houses, in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Myanmar’s garment industry had been expanding exports at an average of 25 per cent per year for the past five years. Local observers expect expansion to slow to around 15 per cent for 2018.

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