In a recent landmark ruling, the Bangladesh High Court has issued a far-reaching directive, compelling the creation of ‘infant feeding centers’ in all relevant establishments and public spaces, including Readymade Garments (RMG) factories, within a reasonable timeframe. This directive applies to any organization employing more than 40 female staff members.
The High Court underscored the critical importance of breastfeeding, asserting that “a child requires breastfeeding for two years.” The ruling acknowledges that many breastfeeding mothers are employed in various government and private sector roles. Consequently, the Court stressed the utmost significance of providing suitable arrangements in all relevant establishments and public spaces, such as shopping malls, bus terminals, train stations, steamers, and launch ghats. These arrangements should enable mothers to breastfeed their children conveniently and without any inconvenience or distress.
The Court’s decision stemmed from a writ petition filed by Advocate Ishrat Hasan, a Supreme Court lawyer, on October 24, 2019. Notably, the petition also included her nine-month-old child, Umair Bin Sadi, as a petitioner.
In its detailed verdict, the High Court affirmed that “in the garment industry, where over 90 percent of the workforce comprises female employees, it is imperative that every garment factory employing more than 40 female workers, as specified in section 94 of the Bangladesh Labor Law, 2006, establishes designated areas or corners to facilitate infant feeding by working mothers during their working hours.”
Furthermore, the Court emphasized that these facilities must conform to the guidelines outlined in section 94 of the Bangladesh Labor Law, 2006, which specify that the designated room should be well-ventilated, secure, adequately furnished, and accessible to nursing mothers.
Photo Courtesy by : UNICEF Bangladesh