Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called [press release] Thursday for the cancellation of a plan formulated by Thailand’s military government that encourages prisoners to work on fishing boats, citing the widespread abuse in the Thai fishing industry.
Thursday 11 December 2014 at 10:55 AM ET
[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called [press release] Thursday for the cancellation of a plan formulated by Thailand’s military government that encourages prisoners to work on fishing boats, citing the widespread abuse in the Thai fishing industry. The plan announced by the Thai labor minister last week would begin operation in early 2015 with thousands of male prisoners eligible to participate. According to the report, abuse is rampant within in fishing sector, including “widespread and systematic use of forced labor, frequent physical abuse leading in some cases to extrajudicial killings, excessive work hours ranging up to 20 hours per day, non-payment of wages, inadequate food and medical services, and dangerous working conditions causing many injuries.” The US State Department [official website] 2014 Trafficking Persons Report [text, PDF] placed Thailand in the lowest possible tier. The report found that “Burmese, Cambodian, and Thai men are subjected to forced labor on Thai fishing boats that travel throughout Southeast Asia and beyond; some men remain at sea for up to several years, are paid very little, are expected to work 18 to 20 hours per day for seven days a week, or are threatened and physically beaten.” Thailand is the third-largest exporter of seafood in the world.
HRW campaigns to inform the public of human rights concerns internationally. Last week HRW and Amnesty International [advocacy website] issued a joint statement [press release] urging Afghanistan’s foreign donors to support human rights progress within the country. At the beginning of December HRW issued a statement [JURIST report] criticizing the new UK Counterterrorism and Securities Bill [text] stating that it infringes on human rights. In November HRW released a report [JURIST report] which accuses police officers in the Democratic Republic of Congo of executing 51 youths and causing the disappearance of 33 others.