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8 Jun 2020

Jennifer Hattam, Equal Times

Asia & Europe: Strategic lawsuits are on the rise, causing breakdown of trust between rights defenders & business, but more alliances are needed

"See you in court: a rise in legal attacks against rights defenders aims to silence corporate critics", June 8, 2020

Kong Athit … Cambodian union leader faces criminal charges … brought against Athit and three other labour activists by Capitol Bus Company… Legal attacks by companies on trade union organisers and other human rights defenders are on the rise globally, according to a recent report by the London-based Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC)… Human rights researcher and consultant Sutharee Wannasiri found herself facing three such charges... [for] investigating the case of 14 migrant workers who had gone public with claims of have suffered serious labour abuses on a poultry farm operated by the Thammakaset Company… Thammakaset has filed a total of 36 legal cases against people who have tried to bring attention to its alleged labour-rights violations… Activist Andy Hall, another human rights defender targeted by Thammakaset … has spent years fighting criminal and civil defamation suits filed by pineapple company Natural Fruit over a report he researched in 2013 on alleged abuses at the firm’s canning operation… The Finnish retailing cooperative S Group … supported Hall in his legal battle with Natural Fruit… Engaging the power of the consumer, and leveraging the corporate social responsibility principles adopted by international companies, is another key strategy. “There’s been a complete breakdown of trust between human rights defenders and corporations, but we need to find allies among them to do our work most effectively,” says Hall... 

Part of the following timelines

Thammakaset lawsuits against former workers (re defamation on labour conditions, Thailand)

Betagro & Thammakaset lawsuits (re labour exploitation in Thailand)