The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) has worked to expose incidences of forced labour in the Thai fishing industry since 2013.
Thailand leads Asia to ratify key ILO convention on work in the fishing industy
Friday, November 30, 2018, 03:20 (GMT + 9)
Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly has voted to ratify the the Work in Fishing Convention C188 despite obstructive tactics and attempts to derail the process by some sections of the fisheries industry.
Without further opposition, it should become effective in January next year, reported the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF).
The EJF, which has been advising the Thai government on these issues since 2013, applauds this progress and urges Thailand to keep up the momentum for reform, to protect fishers and Thailand’s international reputation.
Thailand’s fishing fleet has, in recent decades, been the scene of slavery, brutal physical abuse, human trafficking, and even murder of vulnerable migrant workers.
The EJF recognises that failure to act against these criminal operators led to global notoriety for Thailand’s seafood sector, as one of the most abusive and destructive economic sectors in the world.
The entity pointed out that the Thai Assembly’s decision was taken although industry representatives such as the National Fisheries Association of Thailand (NFAT) have been using aggressive and disruptive tactics to derail legislative reforms in a bid to avoid any regulation to protect workers across the fishing industry.
According to the NGO, NFAT has spread discord, disseminated misinformation and generally disrupted efforts toward much-needed reforms and has also reneged on its previous promises to cooperate with the government to eliminate human and labour rights abuses in the fishing industry.
“The National Legislative Assembly has today taken a bold, progressive and important step towards the protection of workers in the seafood sector from violence and labour abuses. This action is to be applauded, it shows both regional and global leadership by the Royal Thai Government, becoming the first Asian nation to ratify the convention.” said EJF’s Executive Director Steve Trent.
In 2019, Thailand will become chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), providing a unique opportunity to demonstrate further leadership in the region, encouraging neighbouring countries to follow suit.
The EFJ insists that now is the time for the Royal Thai Government to defend its principled stance and for the international community to support these actions.