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8 Apr 2018

AMFORI (Belgium)

Leading global business association AMFORI (formerly Foreign Trade Association) expresses concern over verdict against defender Andy Hall by Thai court

"Andy Hall Verdict: Human Rights Defender Found Guilty of Defamation", 30 Mar 2018

On Monday 26 March, Thailand’s Prakanong Court in Bangkok ordered business and human rights advocate Andy Hall to pay the equivalent of €260,200 in civil damages, plus court fees, to fruit producer Natural Fruit Co. Ltd. Hall was found guilty of defamation for research he conducted on migrant worker’s rights in the Thai fruit industry.

While we recognise the independence of judicial power, which must be free from any external interference, we are concerned about the negative impact such a decision may have not only on the future activity of human rights defenders in Thailand, but also on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in this country.

We acknowledge the significant efforts Thailand has made so far to reduce the risk of worker exploitation (particularly migrant workers), in the food industry. However, we believe it is paramount for the country that these efforts go hand-in-hand with judicial decisions that enable a secure environment where international buyers and Thai companies can successfully pursue their due diligence commitments, and ensure the state honours its obligation to “protect” and provide victims access to “remedy”.