Action Alert Archive
Tell The GAP to Stay true to Social Responsibility!
May 5, 2011
I am writing with regard to a recent United Nations report regarding international human right violations committed by the Government of Sri Lanka. Gap Inc. is one of a number of U.S. brands that do business with manufacturers in Sri Lanka. According to your division of Social Responsibility, “monitors ensure that garments produced for us are made in an ethical manner and that the factories adhere to our comprehensive and strict standards, which are based on internationally accepted labor standards and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” I do not believe that Gap Inc.’s decision to maintain a business partnership with Sri Lanka is consistent with that policy.
Despite the claims from the Sri Lankan Government that it pursued a “humanitarian rescue operation” with a policy of “zero civilian casualties”, the U.N. Panel of Experts, created to advise U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon about accountability in Sri Lanka, found credible allegations in stark contrast to that policy, “some of which would amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.”
These findings include the following:
•The Sri Lanka Army advanced its military campaign into the Vanni using large-scale and widespread shelling, causing large numbers of civilian deaths.
The Sri Lankan Government continues to harass, rape, and torture innocent Tamil civilians. Hundreds of civilians have gone missing since the end of the war, and the same acts of genocide that originally prompted the war, are still in full force and covered up through restrictions and harassment against journalists.
As a socially responsible consumer, I can no longer support the activities of Gap Inc., whose work in Sri Lanka implicitly allows the Government of Sri Lanka to act with impunity. We have rallied a worldwide network of individuals to boycott all products from Gap Inc. We have nearly 1000 members in our Facebook group, “Boycott Sri Lanka” and will continue to vigorously expand and pursue this boycott effort against Gap Inc. and all of your associated brands. We will continue this campaign until we are satisfied that the policy of ‘social responsibility’ that Gap Inc. has defined, aligns with the international standards of human rights and accountability. To this end, we urge Gap Inc. to withdraw immediately from Sri Lanka.
I applaud the effort of Gap Inc. to recognize the importance of setting responsible business standards. I urge you to re-visit your decision regarding Sri Lanka as a global business partner. I would hope that the policies and business practices of Gap Inc. are consistent with the high standards of decency and humanity of your consumer base.
Thanks in advance for your consideration of this critical social issue.
The mission of People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) is to end the systemic human rights abuses against the Tamil population in Sri Lanka, and promote equality, rights and justice on the island. PEARL is 501(c)3 non-profit organization led by human rights activists concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka.