Thailand: Public support for activist Andy Hall grows; trial for case filed by Natural Fruit begins 2 Sept.
Over 100 organizations around the world appealed to members of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA) to urge its fellow member Natural Fruit to drop the cases filed against researcher, activist and human rights defender Andy Hall. Hall is facing a total of six criminal and civil charges brought by Natural Fruit for his work on a report by Finnwatch, which exposed serious rights abuses at the company’s factory.
Further information on this international action (including copies of the letter to industry members in English and Thai, and the press release) is available below. We will update this section on responses or actions taken by TPIA members and organizations related to this appeal.
1 Sept. 2014 update: In the lead-up to the start of Andy's Hall's trial on 2 Sept., a number of groups have launched public campaigns urging the Thai Government, TPIA, and TPIA members to tell Natural Fruit to drop the charges. More information on the Labourstart, SumOfUs and Walk Free campaigns are available below. International brands have also expressed support through the Ethical Trade Initiative and United Nordic. Further information below.
2 Sept. 2014 update: Items related to Andy Hall's trial available here.
Further updates are available here:
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Thailand: Response of Thai Pineapple Industry Association to appeal of over 100 organizations, individuals (unofficial English translation)
Author: Thai Pineapple Industry Association (unofficial translation of original in Thai)
“Subject: Andy Hall’s Letter (No Signature)”, 13 August 2014
[Addressed to State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand]…A case where Mr. Andy Hall has a conflict with Natural Fruit…and the Presidency of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association…should not be combined as one conflict as the issue is personal…The letter sent to the TPIA on 8th August 2014…has no official signatures. TPIA considers that there is no legitimacy and morality in this issued letter that is making allegations against others without any logical sense…The letter that TPIA's members have now received…illustrates Mr. Andy Hall’s behaviour is in bad faith with an intention to destroy Thailand's economic system and severely impact negatively on business owners. If Mr. Hall insists in continuing to behave in this manner, businesses affected by Mr. Andy Hall’s allegations made without fact will coordinate together to prosecute him further in Thailand’s Courts of Justice…
Thailand: Intl. rights groups back labour activist facing trial, say case limits rights defenders trying to expose abuses
Author: Casey Hynes, Asian Correspondent
“International rights groups back labor activist ahead of Thailand trial”, 13 August 2014
Members of the international human rights community have affirmed their support for labor activist Andy Hall, who will face trial in Thailand…Nearly 100 organizations submitted a joint letter to the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA)…insisting that criminal and civil suits brought against Hall by the Natural Fruit company be dropped…Hall, a longtime labor rights activist, faces several suits related to research he conducted on worker conditions at several factories in Thailand…[According to] Bobbie Sta. Maria, Southeast Asia researcher and representative for Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. “Some very important rights are at stake in this case.” Hall’s case indicates deeper issues in the reporting system, Sta. Maria said. The fact that companies can bring their considerable resources to bear when silencing activists is troubling…“The kind of work [human rights defenders]…do is very important to exposing human rights violations. [The case] affects the amount of information that comes out about the situation of migrant workers"…
Author: Signed by 109 organizations & individuals (including Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Finnwatch, Human Rights Watch, International Labor Rights Forum, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, State Enterprise Workers' Relations Confederation Thailand, Trade Union Congress UK)
"RE: TPIA action requested in case of Natural Fruit v. Andy Hall", 8 August 2014
...Natural Fruit’s apparent effort to silence human rights defenders tarnishes the reputation of the TPIA and the entire Thai pineapple export industry. We ask that you take immediate action within the TPIA to urge that Natural Fruit drop its case against Andy Hall and cooperate with worker groups and NGOs to resolve alleged labor rights violations at its factories...TPIA should not remain silent while its President’s company undertakes punitive, unjust actions against Andy Hall...This negative publicity hinders TPIA’s ability to carry out its stated mission, and the trial has not yet even begun. Once the trial has begun, current and potential buyers may weigh the risks of becoming associated with the case and its connection with the TPIA and its member companies...
Author: Please see English version for list of authors of English draft
This is the unofficial Thai translation of the letter to members of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association on the case of Andy Hall.
Author: Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Finnwatch, International Labor Rights Forum, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, State Enterprises Workers Relations' Confederation Thailand, Trade Union Congress UK
"Case Against Labour Rights Defender Draws International Outcry: Nearly 100 international rights groups demand industry action", 8 August 2014
...[N]early 100 international and national labor and human rights groups and NGOs sent a joint-letter to members of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association (TPIA), calling on them to to urge TPIA member Natural Fruit to drop the criminal and civil charges it leveled against researcher and labor rights activist Andy Hall. Signatories to the letter include representatives of more than 20 countries, as well as global organizations including the International Trade Union Confederation, European Coalition for Corporate Justice and Human Rights Watch...“Harassment of activists like Andy Hall, who stand up for the rights of workers, is an unacceptable assault on labor rights and freedom of speech,” said Abby McGill, campaigns director for the International Labor Rights Forum...
Attached is is the list of members of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association, shared by Andy Hall and obtained from the Thai Ministry of Commerce. The original document is in Thai; the attached file is an unofficial English translation of the list. The international appeal was sent to these companies.
The following is the list of members of the Thai Pineapple Industry Association, shared by Andy Hall and obtained from the Thai Ministry of Commerce. The international appeal was sent to these companies.