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7 Feb 2018

Finnwatch (Finland)

Criminal defamation trial against 14 migrant workers who reported abuse begins in Thailand

Thai authorities must take decisive action to protect freedom of speech and migrant worker rights, says Finnwatch as trial against 14 migrant workers from Myanmar on criminal defamation charges begins in Bangkok on 7th February 2018... “In this case, migrant workers are put on trial because the abuse they suffered was made public. It is simply wrong and points to serious problems in Thailand’s defamation laws,” said Sonja Vartiala, executive director of Finnwatch. According to the workers’ complaint...they had been forced to work up to 20 hours per day without a day off during 40 or more days. The company also paid the workers less than the minimum wage, provided no overtime compensation, restricted workers freedom of movement and confiscated their identity documents.The NHRCT...confirmed illegally low wages and unpaid overtime... In January 2017, the Thai government set up a committee... to draft a national action plan on...UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. “With more and more of these cases coming to courts, the Thai authorities’ claims that they will make sure that companies in Thailand uphold human rights sound increasingly hollow,” said...Vartiala. “If they are serious about this, they must de-criminalise defamation and protect whistle-blowers without further delay.”

Part of the following timelines

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

Betagro & Thammakaset lawsuits (re labour exploitation in Thailand)