GLOBAL:UPDATE NEWS FOR ANDY HALL SUPPORTERS

SOURCE ANDY HALL

  • 3rd hearing in malicious criminal defamation case against me by Natural Fruit is 9am on May 7th 2013. All welcome to observe the show:)

update court 11 april by andy hall:

Stating again on the record, I will not attend court to defend a malicious criminal defamation case until I am legally obliged to do so.

Imp: informed by senior diplomat investigation Thai violating UN Principles on Civil Human Rights applying criminal penalties for defamation

My Local MP requests Foreign Office for UK government position on Natural Fruit criminal/civil prosecution against me http://t.co/Ei1R58VHz0

11th april 1pm bkk south criminal court 2nd hearing into natural fruit criminal defamation/computer crimes act prosecution against me

PLEASE SIGN PETITION FOR HIM THANK YOU

http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/uni.nsf/pages/reg_asiaEn?Opendocument&exURL=http://www.uniglobalunion.org/Apps/UNINews.nsf/vwLkpById/F5AE6D80F1D00DDCC1257B42001476D1?OpenDocument

ANDY HALL with Ambassador Mark Kent at the UK Embassy in BKK
ANDY HALL with Ambassador Mark Kent at the UK Embassy in BKK

Just finished productive meeting with British Ambassador Mark Kent @ british embassy bangkok regarding natural fruit prosecution against me. In meeting with British Ambassador, made clear I will not negotiate with Natural Fruit until they drop the malicious law suits against me. Also requested UK Embassy through EU FTA to urgently review trade relations with Thailand given systematic abuse/trafficking of migrants. Finally, made clear suspicions despite Thai gov apparent position prosecution more than private suit by private company against an individual. It is also politically motivated involving one or more prominent politician in Thailand and the government are not doing enough to improve standards at natural fruit and get the malicious case dropped. British Ambassador made clear the Embassy and wider EU’s support and commitment to my personal safety and my decade’s work for migrants in Thailand.

HRW on Andy Hall’s case “The Thai government should welcome efforts to protect migrant worker’s rights, not penalize them.”

(New York) – Criminal defamation charges against a prominent labor activist violate his right to free speech and will have a chilling effect on investigations of alleged rights abuses by companies in Thailand. Proceedings in the case, brought by a fruit processing company before the South Bangkok criminal court, are scheduled for April 11, 2013.

READ ALL

http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/09/thailand-defamation-charges-chill-labor-rights-inquiries

European Commission questioned on Free trade agreement with Thailand and child labour in the canning industry

Subject:  Free trade agreement with Thailand and child labour in the canning industry
Negotiations have recently begun for a free trade agreement between the EU and Thailand, the third largest EU trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with bilateral trade of more than EUR 30 billion (EU exports of EUR 14.8 billion and imports of EUR 16.9 billion). The EU is the main international investor in this country.Several weeks ago, the Finnish organisation Finnwatch reported on the practice of child labour and labour abuses in two of the main tinned tuna factories in Thailand that supply the EU and US markets (Unicord and Thai Union Manufacturing).1. Can the Commission state whether it is aware of these reports of child labour and labour abuses in the Thai canning industry?2. What controls are there to prevent products produced without respecting the fundamental rights from gaining access to the European and international market?3. What new guarantees does the Commission plan to introduce in the new free trade agreement to ensure fair competition and prevent unfair competition?

With regard to the strictly trade-related content of the agreement, will the Commission prevent tariff and non-tariff conditions for the tinned tuna trade from unjustifiably damaging the European sector?

State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC) SOLIDARITY STATEMENT ANDY HALL-ENGLISH

Press Release: 3rd April 2013

State Enterprises Workers’ Relations

For more information on this statement, please contact Mr. Savit Kaewvarn (General Secretary, SERC) on +66 863 361110 (Thai language only)

The State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC) is an employee’s confederation combining 45 state enterprise and private sector labour unions with a total membership of over 200, 000 employees. SERC prioritises worker and human rights protection and promotion in both national and international arenas. The situation regarding violations against worker and human rights in Thailand continues increasingly to be in danger, with every day seeing more negative developments, deterioration and new forms of violations. Thai union leaders and Thai unions, alongside huge numbers of migrant workers, are living and working in Thailand together, led by SERC, and are struggling to cope with all these kinds of violations.

Recently, the prosecution against worker rights defender Mr. Andy Hall arose. Andy has for almost a decade campaigned genuinely and tirelessly for migrant workers in Thailand and actively worked with SERC as our voluntary international advisor. Since SERC has worked with Andy, we found out that he is very effective in his work and he is also always committed to following up every situation regarding violation against migrant workers that is brought to his attention, as well as cooperating with every stakeholder inside the country and overseas who is willing to cooperate with him. In many situations over the years, Andy has been forced to publically disclose violation cases where employers of migrant workers, both Myanmar, Cambodian and Laotian, violated the law and human and labour rights of workers. Those disclosures have increasingly frustrated some employers, government officials and politicians.

However, the campaigns for migrant worker rights led by Andy Hall are always straightforward. He has always aimed to campaign without any intention of destroying or punishing anyone. The objective of his work is solely to protect worker and migrant rights so as to promote the treatment of these workers in accordance with international standards. Indeed, Andy’s work has benefitted every stakeholder involved including governments, employers, factories and particularly migrant workers themselves. Andy Hall has worked tirelessly with SERC and the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN), the latter which he assisting in forming and empowering, in campaigning on violations against worker rights in many factories. Indeed, many factories which Andy has engaged have been much cooperative to improve rights violation situations.

His tireless work to stop systematic exploitation against migrant workers in Thailand has now obstructed the unlawful activities of Natural Fruit Company Ltd., a company producing and exporting fruit juice and canned fruit, part of the larger Nat Group. Andy has been prosecuted in criminal cases of defamation and under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act by Natural Fruit. Moreover, he is also facing prosecution in a civil case for 300 million baht damages. The prosecution cites harm caused by the public dissemination of his research for Finnwatch, a Finnish organization working for consumer protection. Finnwatch researched three factories in Thailand that produce goods and exports to Finland. In accordance with rules and regulations, the factories concerned must respect worker rights, legally hire employees as well as providing safety and occupational working conditions for all workers, migrant or otherwise.

SERC are very concerned with the prosecution of Andy Hall. This case will and has already created a negative impact on Natural Fruit Company Ltd and will also affect Thailand’s exports to Europe and to other regions around the world. Even worse, this prosecution could potentially destroy Thailand’s reputation even further as increasing violations against worker rights and human trafficking in Thailand are already being watched closely by the international community.

As an affiliate of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), SERC has already submitted the letter to ITUC in requesting the assistance from ITUC to help Mr.Hall. And SERC will support and attempt to always protect Andy Hall and will campaign on worker rights and human rights for both Thai and migrant workers on a domestic and international level with the following demands:

1. The management of Natural Fruit Company Ltd. should drop their prosecutions against Andy Hall and change the company’s direction to develop worker rights mechanisms.
2. The Thai Government should urgently act to resolve this case.
3. Domestic and international unions, NGOs, human rights advocates and media should cooperate in Thailand and overseas to campaign and protect all human and worker rights defenders in Thailand, including importantly at this time Andy Hall.

In Solidarity
State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC)
April 3rd 2013

The State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC) on Wednesday issued a solidarity statement demanding that Natural Fruit drop criminal and civil lawsuits filed against British migrant labour activist Andy Hall.

The management of Natural Fruit Company Ltd should withdraw its charges and change the company’s direction, to instead develop workers’ rights mechanisms, SERC secretary general Savit Kaewvan said.

The government should also intervene in resolving this case, the SERC written statement said.

Natural Fruit Company Ltd, producer and exporter of fruit juice and canned fruit, is prosecuting the British activist on criminal charges of defamation and breaches of the Computer Crimes Act, and in a civil case demanding 300 million baht damages.

Mr Hall, the SERC statement said, has for almost a decade campaigned genuinely and tirelessly on behalf of  migrant workers in Thailand, and actively worked with SERC “as our voluntary international adviser”.

Andy Hall v Natural Fruit (File Photos)

“Andy is very effective in his work and he is always committed to following up every situation regarding violations against migrant workers that is brought to his attention, as well as cooperating with inside and outside stakeholders who are willing to cooperate with him,” said Mr Savit in the statement.

In many situations over the years, the statement said, Mr Hall had exposed violations where employers of migrant workers -from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos – had violated the law and the human and labour rights of workers.

Those disclosures had increasingly frustrated some employers, government officials and politicians.

The union confederation said the campaigns for migrant workers’ rights led by Andy Hall were always straightforward.

“The objective of his work is solely to protect workers’ and migrants’ rights, so as to promote the treatment of these workers in accordance with international standards.

“His work has benefitted every stakeholder involved, including governments, employers, factories and particularly migrant workers themselves.

“He has worked tirelessly with the SERC and the Migrant Worker Rights Network (MWRN), the latter which he assisting in forming and empowering, in campaigning against violations of workers’ rights in many factories, which have become much more cooperative in improving rights violation situations.”

The company’s case, which the Criminal Court began hearing this month,  alleges great harm caused by the public dissemination of the findings of a study he made for Finnwatch, a Finnish organisation working for consumer protection. It rejects the findings as untrue.

The study report  involved three factories in Thailand that produce goods for export to Finland. He was asked if the factories concerned respect workers’ rights, legally hire employees, and ensure a safe working environment for all workers, migrant or otherwise.

“SERC are very concerned about the prosecution of Andy Hall. This case will and has already created a negative impact on Natural Fruit Company Ltd and will also affect Thailand’s exports to Europe and to other regions around the world.

“Even worse, this prosecution could potentially destroy Thailand’s reputation even further, as increasing violations of workers’ rights and human trafficking in Thailand are already being watched closely by the international community,” the statement said.

The SERC has already submitted a letter to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), requesting its assistance in helping Mr Hall.

The Criminal Court on Tuesday adjourned the hearing until April 11.

The company has said it is ready to negotiate with Mr Hall, but had been unable to contact him. The company said it was just one of about 20 similar producers in Thailand and had no idea why it was “untruthfully” included in the report as an abuser of migrant labour.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/343729/natural-fruit-case-against-andy-hall-could-have-consequences-serc-warns

Legal actions against Finnwatch researcher are an attack against human rights defenders and freedom of expression

Finnwatch

Thailand’s authorities must immediately launch an investigation into  the operations of Natural Fruit and its parent company NatGroup. Human rights issues must be tackled also in the ongoing free trade agreement negotiations between Thailand and the EU.

Natural Fruit, a maker of tinned pineapple and juice concentrate, has submitted two lawsuits in Thailand against Andy Hall, the migration expert who recently coordinated Finnwatch’s field research in Thailand. Continue reading “State Enterprise Workers’ Relations Confederation of Thailand (SERC) SOLIDARITY STATEMENT ANDY HALL-ENGLISH”

ALERT!!!!!! Thailand: Criminal lawsuit lodged against human rights defender Mr Andy Hall

1st April court hearing southern criminal court

Southern Criminal Court, Charoen Krung Rd, TIME  130pm

PLEASE COME AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT !! THANK YOU SO MUCH

Prachuap Khiri Khan pineapple canning company filed criminal defamation charges against a British human rights advocate over treatment of migrant workers by the company.

Natural Fruit Co Ltd, which has headquarters in Pran Buri, claimed that Andy Hall, a British citizen, had damaged its reputation with libellous statements about its relations with migrant workers, according to papers at the website of the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court’s website and NGO sources.

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Mr Hall, 32, well-known in Thaland although he was reportedly in Myanmar on Tuesday, faces charges under the Computer Crimes Act that carry penalties of up to five years in prison on each count.

In addition, the company filed a civil suit at the Nakhon Pathom Court claiming 300 million baht in civil damages caused by Mr Hall’s discussion of Natural Fruit and the migrant workers.

It is the second time Natural Fruit has instituted legal action against the British advocate. A previous suit cited interviews and allegedly libellous remarks Mr Hall made Jan 15-21 in Bangkok, including at a panel discussion at  the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT).

The suits alleged that at least three media outlets posted reports of interviews with Mr Hall. The lawsuits also cited, but did not charge, the human rights group FinnWatch, which has researched the issue of migrant workers at Natural Fruit.

According to the lawsuits seen at the court’s website, Natural Fruit claimed it “was damaged by (Mr Hall’s) accusation that it violated human rights and labour rights by hiring workers under 15 years” of age, paid them wages below the minimum wage, and provided no holidays or bonus, all illegal acts.

The company also denied reports it had illegally confiscated passports of workers.

“These reports and information have caused damage to the company, brought insults and hatred from the public, both inside the country and internationally,” the suits alleged.

The court scheduled the first preliminary hearing on the defamation charges for April 1.

NGO circles on Tuesday were buzzing with concern over the possible long prison sentences and high compensation demanded by Natural Fruit.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/338945/british-advocate-andy-hall-sued

———-

H.E. Yingluck Shinnawatra
Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister
Government House
Thanon Phitsanulok, Dusit
Bangkok 10300
Thailand

Fax: +66 2 280 0858 / +66 2 288 4016 Continue reading “ALERT!!!!!! Thailand: Criminal lawsuit lodged against human rights defender Mr Andy Hall”

Invitation to MEKONG MIGRATION NETWORK Press Conference “Migrants from the Mekong Neighbourhood Contemplate Living Together”

Invitation to the MMN Press Conference “Migrants from the Mekong Neighbourhood Contemplate Living Together”
MEKONG MIGRATION NETWORK

AB 4th cover 1

CORDIALLY INVITE YOU TO OUR PRESS CONFERENCE, FOLLOWED BY A COCKTAIL RECEPTION BY THE RIVER SIDE

“Migrants from the Mekong Neighbourhood Contemplate Living Together”
At the press conference on February 28th, The MEKONG MIGRATION NETWORK (MMN) will present recommendations agreed upon at the “Mekong Symposium on Migration: Migrants from the Mekong Neighbourhood Living Together” (Feb 26th – 28th).

The Symposium is a venue where policy makers, migrants’ rights advocates, migrant representatives, representatives of inter-governmental organisations, and academia can share perspectives and have dialogue on what it means for nationals and migrants to live together in social harmony. Participants at the symposium include representative from Workers Solidarity Association, Mr Jai Sak (migrant worker), H.E. Ms. Chou Bun Eng, Secretary of State, Ministry of Interior, Royal government of Cambodia and H.E. U Myint Thein, Deputy Minister for Labour of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar.

Date & Time: 28th February 2013 (Thursday ), 16.00 – 17.30 Continue reading “Invitation to MEKONG MIGRATION NETWORK Press Conference “Migrants from the Mekong Neighbourhood Contemplate Living Together””

Four Thais sentenced over Burmese migrant deaths in 2008

Four people smugglers were sentenced to up to 10 years in prison by a Thai court on Thursday over a 2008 incident when 54 migrant workers from Burma suffocated to death inside a seafood container,Agence France-Presse (AFP) has reported.

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The four Thais were convicted of gross negligence resulting in death and of breaking immigration laws, an official from a court in the country’s southern Ranong province told AFP.

The 54 victims were among 121 people crammed into the 6 x 2 m container which reportedly had a broken ventilation system. The migrants were being transported to Phuket in southern Thailand to work as day laborers.

The owner of the container truck was sentenced to 10 years in prison, a second defendant received nine years and a third—who owned a jetty in southern Thailand where the migrants arrived by boat—was jailed for six years, the report said.

A woman defendant had her sentence halved to three years after confessing, the official said.

The truck driver, who fled the scene after discovering the tragedy, was jailed for six years in August 2008 having admitted to his role in the crime, the official added.

Survivors have recounted desperately trying to raise the alarm as they fought for breath in the storage box.

“No matter how many times we hit the container the driver did not pay any attention,” one female migrant who was on board told Thai television.

MIZZIMA NEWS

read  all  

http://www.mekongmigration.org/?cat=10         Archive for the ‘Death by Suffocation of 54 Burmese Migrants’ Category

Thailand ALERT:MIGRANT WORKERS (ILLEGAL FOREIGN WORKERS)nationality verification process is due to expire on Dec. 14

About 200,000 illegal Burmese migrant workers are among some 400,000 illegal foreign workers who are due to be deported back to their respected countries in December this year, according to a report by the Bangkok Post, a Thailand-based newspaper.There are eight verification centers in Thailand: in Bangkok, Samut Sakorn, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak and Ranong.

Some 400,000 illegal migrant workers face the prospect of being deported after failing to undergo the nationality verification process, which expires on Dec 14.

Some 1.3 million out of 1.7 million migrant workers in the country have completed nationality verification, Labour Minister Padermchai Sasomsap said yesterday.

The remaining 400,000 migrant workers will be deported to their home countries if they fail to complete the verification process by the deadline, the minister said.

The ministry found that about 99,000 Lao migrant workers applying for nationality verification had not been approved to enter the process by Lao authorities.

“National verification requires cooperation from all sides, including Thai employers and origin countries,” Mr Padermchai said.

“Unless cooperation is given, the Labour Ministry will have to deport migrant workers who have not yet entered the process.” Continue reading “Thailand ALERT:MIGRANT WORKERS (ILLEGAL FOREIGN WORKERS)nationality verification process is due to expire on Dec. 14”