Royal Thai Government commits to adopting vital labour laws to tackle illegal fishing and associated human rights abuses.
During a meeting with EJF’s Executive Director, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, General Prawit Wongsuwan confirmed the intention of the Royal Thai Government to adopt international labour mechanisms protecting workers rights.
EJF has advocated for Thailand’s ratification of International Labour Organization’s Convention 188 since 2014. The Convention will give vital further protections to workers at sea, including migrant workers, who are particularly vulnerable to trafficking, forced, bonded and slave labour.
Thailand has taken significant measures to reduce illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing since EJF and others exposed the scale of the abuses and highlighted the direct connection between the illegal fishing and violent human rights abuses. However, EJF believes that adopting ILO Convention 188 is the next essential step toward achieving legal, sustainable and ethical seafood in Thailand.
The fishing industry in Thailand has shown strong opposition to the implementation of these laws. EJF believes it is essential the Royal Thai Government resists this pressure and acts now by adopting C188 to prevent the major advances achieved so far from being undermined by unscrupulous operators and protect the safety and security of workers in the seafood sector.
Steve Trent said:
“Adoption of C188 is an essential step for the Thai Government if they are to provide the basic necessary protections for human rights in the seafood sector.
“Complaints coming from industry have been blown out of all proportion. Some in the Thai industry are being deliberately obstructive in trying to prevent the adoption of these vital measures. The Thai Government must not be coerced and instead continue to demonstrate the strong leadership it has shown over the past months to eradicate abuses which have so tarnished the Thai seafood industry”.
EJF’s campaign against illegal fishing and human rights abuses
Since 2014, EJF’s investigations have exposed illegal fishing in the Thai seafood sector and its direct links to human trafficking, forced labour and violent human rights abuses in Thailand’s fisheries.
Conducting numerous investigations, at sea and on land, and working with the Thai authorities EJF has provided extensive technical support, combining these efforts with direct engagement at the highest levels in the Thai Government to promote effective, long-term, durable solutions.
Thailand has responded positively, adopting an entirely new set of laws, employing new technology, engaging better monitoring and investigative techniques and new more effective enforcement measures. Many tens of millions of dollars have been spent to combat the crimes exposed. These measures are to be applauded, but it is essential that the other steps, such as the adoption of Convention 188 are taken.
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Images: Ministry of Defence, Thailand