Thailand: Activists claim modern slavery continues in fishing industry, call on EU to maintain pressure by extending yellow card designation

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9 January 2019

Thailand: Labour rights activists warn against complacency as EU lifts threat to ban Thai fishing imports

Author: Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation

"Activists warn of gaps as EU lifts ban threat on Thai fishing industry", 8 January 2019

Labor rights campaigners warned against complacency as the European Union... withdrew its threat to ban Thai fishing imports into the bloc, saying that the country has made progress in tackling illegal and unregulated fishing.

The EU’s so-called “yellow card” on Thai fishing exports has been in place since April 2015 as a warning that the country was not sufficiently addressing the issues.

...Thailand has amended its fisheries legal framework in line with international law, and improved its monitoring and surveillance systems, including remote monitoring of fishing activities and more robust inspections at port, the EU said...

But the International Labor Organization said in March that fishermen remained at risk of forced labor, and the wages of some continued to be withheld...

But important gaps remain, said Steve Trent, executive director at advocacy group Environmental Justice Foundation... “There is a risk that with the lifting of the yellow card, complacency will set in. We need to see a culture of compliance, and more being done to protect vulnerable workers in the industry,” Trent said.


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25 February 2016

Slavery and trafficking continue in Thai fishing industry, claim activists

Author: Kate Hodal, Guardian (UK)

Slavery, trafficking, murder and corruption at all levels of government still pervade Thailand’s billion-dollar fishing industry, activists claim, despite recent arrests linked to human rights abuses and the threat of an EU-wide boycott.

The Thai government has implemented measures to crack down on trafficking and arrested more than 100 people since the EU issued its “yellow card” last April, threatening a ban on seafood imports unless Thailand cleaned up illegal fishing and labour abuses.

But activists claim too little has changed in the industry, which is estimated to be worth $7bn (£5bn) a year, despite Thai authorities and private businesses claiming they are confident they are on the right track to avoid the ban…

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23 February 2016

Thailand: Rights groups call on EU to extend yellow card designation & keep pressure to address structural problems that aid rights abuses in fisheries

Author: Undercurrent News

“NGOs issue letter to Vella, EU, over Thai human rights abuses”, 23 Feb 2016

Human Rights at Sea has joined fellow international labor, environmental and human rights organizations in support of a letter sent to Karmenu Vella, the EU Commissioner for fisheries, maritime affairs and environment at the European Commission.

The letter urges the commission to maintain pressure on Thailand to build upon positive reforms that have recently been made to its fishing industry, to ensure that the reforms have longevity and to address the structural problems that facilitate both illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and human rights abuses…

The letter asks the Committee to take human rights into account when assessing Thailand’s seafood sector. To demonstrate sufficient progress, Thailand should implement a time-bound action plan focused on effective enforcement to ensure substantial, measurable progress toward a legal, sustainable and ethical seafood industry, it added…

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