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8 Apr 2018

Nick Kightley, Ethical Trading Initiative (UK)

Ethical Trading Initiative UK says verdict against Andy Hall damages "Brand Thailand"

"Damaging ‘Brand Thailand’: Reaction to court ruling against labour rights advocate, Andy Hall", 28 Mar 2018

Thailand’s Prakanong Court in Bangkok...ordered business and human rights advocate, Andy Hall, to pay 10 million baht (£225,957) in civil damages plus legal and court fees to pineapple company Natural Fruit Co Ltd. Two years ago, I expressed ETI’s serious concerns when labour rights advocate Andy Hall was found guilty of defamation for researching and speaking out on migrant worker’s rights in the Thai fruit industry. Following this latest 26 March court verdict, I must sadly reiterate those concerns. This latest court ruling has grave implications for free speech and poses a potential threat to workers, future whistle blowers, and business and human rights advocates. Let’s be clear, Andy Hall was there to research migrant worker abuse. Let’s also be clear that while we condemn local company lawsuits against legitimate human rights defenders such as Andy Hall, this case is not just about the implications for one person, or even for future activists. This is also about the potential damage to ‘Brand Thailand’. We believe that such decisions damage the reputation of Thailand’s food industry as a whole...