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Thailand: Court dismisses criminal defamation charges against 14 Myanmar workers

Author: Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation News, Published on: 11 July 2018

"Thai court dismisses charges against Myanmar workers in landmark case", 11 July 2018

A court in Bangkok on Wednesday dismissed criminal defamation charges against workers from Myanmar who had accused a chicken farm of abuses, in a landmark ruling seen as a rare victory for migrant workers' rights in Thailand.  The case was triggered by a complaint that 14 workers filed to Thailand's National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in 2016 about forced overtime, being paid under the minimum wage, confiscation of passports, and limited freedom of movement.  The workers were charged in October in a first-of-its-kind criminal defamation case, which prompted campaigners to urge better protection for migrant labourers who complain about working conditions.  On Wednesday, a judge said he believed that the workers filed the NHRC complaint against the Thammakaset chicken farm in "good faith", and without false information...Their former employer, Thammakaset farm, which supplied the Thai food conglomerate Betagro, denied the charges from the outset and launched a lawsuit against the workers, saying the complaint has damaged its reputation...Wednesday's verdict will help bolster the rights of migrant workers in the country, said Sutharee Wannasiri at the advocacy group Fortify Rights...

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