Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - HRW to EU: End migrant abuse

HRW to EU: End migrant abuse

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A migrant worker repairs a net on a fishing boat in Thailand’s Rayong province. Nicolas Asfouri/Afp

HRW to EU: End migrant abuse

Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the European Union (EU) to renew efforts to eliminate forced labour and other abusive treatment within the Thai fishing industry, noting that a large number of workers were from Cambodia and Myanmar.

In a letter to EU officials, dated July 5 but published on Monday, HRW claimed that migrant workers were still falling into debt bondage within the commercial fishing sector.

Delayed payment and salaries below the minimum wage were two issues highlighted in the document.

Its statement said HRW found that “captains compelled predominantly Burmese [Myanmar] and Cambodian fishing workers to work overtime beyond those set out in law . . . [owners] frequently paid fishing workers once every six months – or in some cases once a year at subminimum wages”.

The report said ATM cards and bank books were frequently taken by bosses in order to thwart Thai reforms requiring monthly direct deposits.

HRW regional director for Asia Brad Adams said: “The Thai government’s reforms in the fishing industry still fall far short of resolving serious labour rights abuses . . . the EU should use its leverage as a major seafood importer to demand changes to the lives of migrant fishing workers on Thai vessels.”

Government spokesman Phay Siphan, said the state was paying attention to Cambodian workers in Thailand, citing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed previously regarding the issue.

“We signed the MoU with the Thai government and also with the Thai fisheries association,” Sophan said.

“Cambodia is working with the Thai government . . . to help our legal and illegal fishermen,” he said, adding that the Kingdom is pushing to give undocumented workers the help they need to get the right papers.

A statement in May from the International Transport Workers’ Federation, which launched the Fishers’ Rights Network, said there were “approximately 600,000 fishermen in Thailand”, predominantly from Cambodia and Myanmar.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom lacks up to 400MW in available electricity’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the general public, hoteliers and businesspeople with generators to use them as back-up as the Electricity Authority of Cambodia cannot generate enough electricity to meet needs due to low water levels in power station reservoirs. On Saturday evening

  • Kingdom may hire Turkish power ship

    Cambodia is considering negotiating with Turkey to hire a 200MW-capacity power ship to meet electricity demands as the country faces an ongoing electrical shortage, according to the prime minister. Speaking to garment workers in Pursat province on Wednesday, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Electricite du

  • Sor Chandeth defends his criticism of Hun Sen

    Former senator Sor Chandeth has defended his choice of words when criticising Hun Sen, saying he was merely speaking metaphorically to attack the Prime Minister’s political life, not his actual person, as the latter seeks damages. [img] Chandeth spoke to The Post on Thursday,

  • South Korea’s Moon arrives in Kingdom for state visit

    South Korean president Moon Jae-in and his wife arrived in Phnom Penh on Thursday at the start of a three-day state visit to Cambodia to strengthen ties and further the friendship between the two countries. After arriving at the Phnom Penh International Airport in the