Thailand: "14 Migrant Workers from Myanmar Alleging Rights Abuses at Thai Poultry Farm to be Arrested on Criminal Defamation Charges Despite Increasing International Outcry"
Today…Court in Bangkok, Thailand has scheduled for the indictment on two separate criminal charges of 14 migrant workers from Myanmar embroiled in a landmark case in which the workers alleged forced labour…at Thammakaset 2 poultry farm...Thammakaset Company Ltd. filed criminal prosecutions against the 14 workers…alleging offences of criminal defamation...If found guilty of these two offenses... the workers could be imprisoned for up to one and half years and/or fined up to…US$628. As best practice in accordance with the United Nation's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…two Nordic poultry importers and a Thai poultry exporter will cover bail costs for the 14 workers…Following arrest, indictment and pleas of not guilty at today's court hearing, this contribution should ensure the workers are immediately released temporarily from detention on bail…The full trial…[will] commence in November 2017. The imminent arrest of the 14 workers…attracted considerable international concern including a statement by the United Nations (UN) Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and a joint open letter to the Thai Prime Minister…, five UN Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights and the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations have officially sent letters of allegation to the Thai Government...Statements on the case have been issued by Human Rights Watch and Fortify Rights, whilst in an unprecedented open letter, the EU's Foreign Trade Association…called for an 'Out of Court Settlement’... The [ITUC] highlighted the case in a…submission on Thailand’s alleged ongoing breaches of ILO Convention 29 on Forced Labour…Last week the Ethical Trading Initiative…was engaged in Bangkok in behind-the-scenes attempts to bring about a negotiated settlement to this dispute in advance of the 14 workers arrest today.