Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thais defend record on fishing vessel abuses

Thais defend record on fishing vessel abuses

Migrant workers unload fish from a docked boat at a port in Mahachai, on the outskirts of Bangkok last year. AFP
Migrant workers unload fish from a docked boat at a port in Mahachai, on the outskirts of Bangkok last year. AFP

Thais defend record on fishing vessel abuses

A month after the Cambodian Human Rights Committee sent a request to its Thai counterpart asking it to implement safety measures to protect Cambodians working in often slave-like conditions on Thai boats, the committee yesterday received a response claiming Thai authorities had long ago taken sufficient action.

In its letter, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand defended the Thai government’s work, pointing to the ongoing registration of undocumented migrant workers, the establishment of a council dealing with human trafficking and a list of recommendations made to the Thai government last year.

However, the ongoing rampant abuses on Thai boats contradicted the body’s claims, said Dy Thehoya, program officer with labour rights group Central. “I think the Thai government just wanted to shore up its good image with the international community, that it really takes serious measures against perpetrators of fishing boat slavery,” he said. “In fact, it’s just in writing – no clear mechanism and strong commitment.”

Keo Remy, president of the Cambodian Human Rights Committee, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said the Thai human rights commission has “been really a bit player in the larger policy discussions about abuses of Cambodian fishers Thai boats, which is unfortunate”.

MOST VIEWED

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Defence Ministry denies weapons in smuggling case came from Cambodia

    After a Thai national was arrested last week for allegedly smuggling guns from Cambodia to Thailand, Cambodia's Defence Ministry has claimed the weapons seized during the arrest are not used in Cambodia, despite the fact that both types of rifle seized are commonly found in

  • Shipwreck found off coast of Koh Kong

    Royal Cambodian Navy researchers are working to identify a decades-old shipwreck found earlier this month off the coast of Koh Kong province. Divers found the 70-metre-long wreck on April 4 about a mile from Koh Chhlam island, according to Navy officials. Deputy Navy Commander Tea Sokha,